Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
NewsOpinion

Stormwater problem is real

Chemical IndustryFertilizerChesapeake Bay Foundation

Many thanks go to Alison Prost of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for her explanation of the stormwater fee ("Beyond 'rain tax' rhetoric," May 1).

I would like to add a little historical background. When Europeans first visited the Chesapeake Bay, it was vibrant with aquatic life galore. Over the centuries, it was exploited with oyster beds being destroyed by "traditional oyster collection practices" and unsustainable fishing of the best fish here and along the Atlantic Seaboard. But the real deathblow to the bay came with Hurricane Agnes — not because of the influx of freshwater, but because the pesticides, fertilizers and other waste that washed from the greater Chesapeake and Susquehanna River watershed ended up killing the native underwater fauna forever.

Those grasses were vital for the safety of baby and soft-shell blue crabs until they were large or hardened enough to fend for themselves. While the recovery of rockfish stocks has been applauded by some, the rockfish and now drum fish eat the baby crabs that have no protection from predators because stormwater runoff destroyed their natural habitat.

This damage was compounded by the suburban sprawl, which included all the tract homes having perfect lawns that were marketed as only possible with lots of fertilizer, etc. While the current building code requires rain water to be channeled into the water processing system, in some locales, officials now require that roof gutters be disconnected from the sewer systems with rain water going into aquifers (probably until the sewer systems can be updated and expanded to handle all water disposal). That is why most blue crabs are actually imported from the Gulf of Mexico.

Jack Boak, Baltimore

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts
  • Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
    Related Content
    Chemical IndustryFertilizerChesapeake Bay Foundation
    • Rain tax exemption not worth the effort
      Rain tax exemption not worth the effort

      When we built our house in Anne Arundel County in 2002, we had to install a $10,000 wastewater management system because we were building within 1,000 feet of a body of water. We found this to be unreasonable but we had no appeal. We were certain that we qualified for an exemption now from...

    • Churches should not have to pay stormwater fees [Letter]
      Churches should not have to pay stormwater fees [Letter]

      In response to your paper's recent article about churches paying stormwater fees, I would point out that churches provide heavily discounted space for community groups and that many house affordable kindergarten and nursery school programs and provide food and shelter for at-risk populations...

    • In rush to cut taxes and fees, lawmakers are sacrificing long-term environmental sustainability
      In rush to cut taxes and fees, lawmakers are sacrificing long-term environmental sustainability

      I was disheartened to read that both Republican and Democratic legislators are already making plans to repeal the stormwater management fees designed to pay for projects that mitigate the only source of Chesapeake Bay pollution that is still on the rise ("After Hogan victory, local...

    • 'Rain tax' sobriquet is misleading
      'Rain tax' sobriquet is misleading

      I find the continued use of the term "rain tax" to be misleading at best ("After Hogan victory, local governments look to cut taxes and fees," Nov. 15).

    • The bogus 'rain tax' repeal
      The bogus 'rain tax' repeal

      Despite facing a bigger-than-expected budget shortfall, and although he promised a policy blackout until he takes office, Governor-elect Larry Hogan last week publicly reiterated his support for repealing Maryland's "rain tax" while meeting with fellow Republican governors in Florida. He told...

    • Churches get cozy with government [Letter]
      Churches get cozy with government [Letter]

      Concerning the article, "Faith groups wrestling with stormwater fee" (Feb. 18), religious organizations should recognize that the camel's head is under the tent.

    • Md. must enforce stormwater controls [Letter]
      Md. must enforce stormwater controls [Letter]

      In a letter to the editor ("Md. leads the region in reducing stormwater runoff," Jan. 10), Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Robert Summers took issue with concerns I expressed earlier in The Sun ("Bay advocates say state lax in monitoring county stormwater controls," Jan. 3). At...

    • Why bother having a legislative session? [Letter]
      Why bother having a legislative session? [Letter]

      I'm so grateful that the voters in Maryland don't have to worry about contacting our legislators in Annapolis to present our views on the rain tax. Thank you, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch for making the decision for us that there will be no repeal...

    Comments
    Loading