Annapolis stormwater project praised

Environmentalists and government officials dedicated a stormwater pollution control project near Annapolis on Wednesday that they say is an example of what can be done to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

The $900,000 project was paid for by state and federal grants, but is the type of project that could be funded by Anne Arundel County's new stormwater fee, said Severn Riverkeeper Fred Kelly, who spearheaded the project.

The project re-engineered a stormwater holding pond and 1,700 linear feet of Cabin Branch, a stream that flows from the intersection of Bestgate Road and Generals Highway near the Westfield Annapolis mall out to Saltworks Creek on the Severn River.

The newly configured stream and stream valley slows stormwater that runs off of parking lots and roads in the area, allowing much of it to be absorbed into the ground. The goal is to naturally treat nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution so that less of it reaches the river.

About 2,500 trees and plants were planted in the area.

"This project is an illustration of the kind of thing we need to do to move the bay forward," said Joe Gill, state natural resources secretary.

Kelly praised the "political will and political leadership" that led to the passage of the stormwater fee over County Executive Laura Neuman's veto. Members of the County Council are continuing to tweak the stormwater fees, which would range from $34 to $170 for residential property owners, with commercial property owners paying based on the amount of impervious surfaces -- rooftops, parking lots, driveways -- on their land.


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