Counties Struggle With Stormwater Treatment Requirements

A Bay Journal article (2019-04-01) provided an in-depth analysis of the struggles county governments face in addressing pollution caused by stormwater runoff. All counties must achieve some level of stormwater runoff reduction under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load and many counties, particularly urban jurisdictions, must achieve specific goals under their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits. The MS4 permits require the retrofitting of existing impervious surface and stormwater treatment facilities with green infrastructure that…

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Have Questions About Forests or Trees? Get Answers at MDP’s New Forest Planning Resource Webpage

A Maryland Planning Blog article (2019-04-10) highlighted the Maryland Department of Planning's (MDP's) new Forest Planning Resource webpage, which provides useful tools and information about designating protected forest lands, establishing urban tree canopies, and protecting trees during the development process. The webpage was developed by MDP, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the Sustainable Forestry Council based on requirements in the Forest Preservation Act of 2013 (HB 706). That legislation required the State provide…

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New Ellicott City Flood Scenarios Call for the Demolition of 4-6 Downtown Buildings

A Daily Record article (2019-04-17) reported that Howard County Executive Calvin Ball is reviewing five proposed scenarios to address the catastrophic flooding issues in Ellicott City. The scenarios will involve the demolition between four to six buildings on the historic town's Main Street. The article noted that the scenarios cost between $63.5 million and $175 million and would take between four to seven years to complete. The new scenarios, developed at Ball's request, call for fewer buildings…

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Learn About the New Phase 3 WIP at Harry Hughes Center Information Sessions

The Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology is hosting three information sessions and one webinar on the release of Maryland's Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP). The WIP details the actions that must be taken by the State and local governments to meet the 2025 nutrient pollution reduction goals under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load. The sessions and webinar run from April to May 2019, and will include an overview of the draft…

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2019 End of Session Wrap-Up: Environment

This post summarizes the status of various environmental bills that MACo took a position on during the 2019 Regular Session. MACo seeks practical solutions to environmental issues that do not impose unreasonable mandates or costs on county governments. Septic Systems – Definition of “Failing System” Legislation established a statutory definition for a “failing on-site sewage disposal system,” which triggers certain enforcement provisions regarding repair or upgrade requirements and may allow the system’s owner access to…

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Forest Legislation Update: What’s Budding for Spring & What Remains Dormant

As we approach Sine Die and the end of the 2019 Session, here is a summary on the status of the various Forest Conservation Act (FCA) bills introduced this year. FCA reform has been a priority of the environmental community, particularly the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, for the last several years. House Bill 120/Senate Bill 203 would change Maryland's “No net loss of forest” goal. Under current goal, 40% of all land in Maryland must be…

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Maryland Passes First Statewide Styrofoam Food Container Ban

A Baltimore Sun article (2019-04-03) reported that Maryland has become the first state in the nation to pass legislation banning polystyrene food containers and cups after two prior attempts failed. The ban has been a legislative priority for the environmental community. HB 109, sponsored by Delegate Brooke Lierman, passed the General Assembly with a vote of 100-37 in the House of Delegates and 31-13 in the Senate. The bill will now go to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan…

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Ag Tire Event Collects More Than 379 Tons of Scrap Tires

Farmers across Cecil County recently participated in the 2019 Agricultural Tire Collection Event held at the Cecil County Central Landfill in Elkton. The event aims to collect scrap tires from Cecil County farms at no cost to the farmers. This year, more than 14,000 tires, weighing more than 379 tons, were collected March 1st-11th, with 73 different farms contributing. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), in conjunction with the Maryland Environmental Service and the…

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MET 2019 Land Conservation Conference & Symposium Includes Special Focus on Counties

Registration is now open for the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) 2019 Land Conservation Conference and Symposium. This year's conference runs from May 16 (Thursday) through May 17 (Friday) at the Maritime Conference Center in Linthicum Heights. Friday is largely targeted towards counties and will include panels with local elected officials and county technical staff. Attendees can register for one or both days. From MET's webpage on the event: Each year, this Conference gathers the land…

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Leadership Academy Offers Free Climate Change Training to County Officials

A Bay Journal article (2019-03-20) recounted the history and current status of Maryland's innovative Climate Leadership Academy. The Academy, the first of its kind in the nation, offers training to state and local governments employees on planning and responding to climate change. While governments are the target audience, other groups are also able to participate. Educational sessions offered by the Academy vary in length and duration. The article stated that the creation of the Academy was announced during…

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