“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Baltimore’s Part in Saving the Bay

The Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Program

Baltimore’s Part in Saving the Bay Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 14, 2017
1. Baltimore’s Part in Saving the Bay Marker
Inscription. The promenade you are standing on lies within a very special space called the Critical Area. The Critical Area is the 1000 foot strip (about three city blocks) bordering the entire Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, including the Patapsco River where Baltimore is located. The Buffer, where you are standing is the 100 foot strip at the very edge of the water. In 1984, Maryland enacted the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Protection Act.

The law is designated to clean up the waters of the Bay and to protect the aquatic life, wildfowl, and wild animals that make their home in the Bay and along its shores. Since then, 16 counties and 44 municipalities in Maryland have established Critical Area Programs. The Programs guide development on land that lies within the Critical Area while at the same time accommodating growth.

Three ways of improving Water Quality in the Urban Environment-The natural shoreline in rural areas filters pollutants from storm-water runoff before they get into the water. Baltimore City, on the other hand, has hardened its shoreline with docks, bulkheads, and wharves over the past 200 years as it grew into the thriving commercial and industrial heart of the region. Despite its hard edges, Baltimore contributes significantly to the Chesapeake Bay clean up effort through the three parts of its Critical Area Program.

1. Protecting

Baltimore’s Part in Saving the Bay Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 14, 2017
2. Baltimore’s Part in Saving the Bay Marker
Natural Shorelines-Baltimore has 430 acres of natural, soft shoreline within its Critical Area, in places like Middle Branch Park and the Gwynns Falls Greenway. The Program protects these areas from future development so that they can continue to work as natural pollution filters, and as the habitat for the abundant life forms in and around the water’s edge.

2. On-site Mitigation-Anyone who develops land in the 1000 foot Critical Area must take steps to reduce pollution from storm water runoff by 10% below what it was prior to development. The marshy wetland on the west side of the Columbus Center is an example of an on-site project that helps reduce pollution from runoff. Significant development projects with the Buffer (the 100 foot strip along the water’s edge) are subject to even more stringent requirements. These requirements can be met through extensive plantings or by building a public promenade—like the one you are walking on. If the pollution reduction or Buffer requirements cannot be met on-site, the developer pays a fee into the Offset Fund.

3. The Offset Program-The Offset Fund consists of money’s collected from developers who cannot meet their pollution reduction or Buffer requirements on-site. It is managed by the Baltimore City Department of Planning. The Fund supports construction of projects that improve water quality or shoreline habitat in the City, as well as environmental education programs, such as this sign. The new wetland on the northwest side of the Vietnam Memorial Bridge in South Baltimore is an example of a shoreline improvement that both filters pollutants and improves wildlife habitat.

(Inscription on the upper right)
Enjoy Baltimore’s Waterfront Promenade

You are standing on the Baltimore Waterfront Promenade. Follow this 7.5 mile path and discover great neighborhoods, old and new architecture, art galleries, theater, food and drink, marine life, parks, museums, shops and other shoreline attractions. Signs along the way will introduce you to harbor life of yesterday and today.

This sign was produced by the Baltimore Harbor Endowment with a grant from the City of Baltimore, Kurt L. Schmoke, Mayor, in cooperation with the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission. Illustrated by RTKL Associates, Inc.
Location. 39° 16.913′ N, 76° 36.671′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker is on Light Street. Touch for map. The marker is on the Baltimore Waterfront Promenade not far from the main entrance to the Maryland Science Center. Marker is in this post office area: Baltimore MD 21202, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. United States Merchant Seamen Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Port of Baltimore (within shouting distance of this marker); The Olmsted Legacy (within shouting distance of this marker); A History of Firsts in Baltimore (within shouting distance of this marker); Generating Electricity from the Sun (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Pride of Baltimore (about 500 feet away); The Great Baltimore Fire (about 500 feet away); Admiral Guillermo Brown (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baltimore.
Categories. Charity & Public WorkEnvironmentWaterways & Vessels

Credits. This page was last revised on April 24, 2017. This page originally submitted on April 23, 2017, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 145 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 23, 2017, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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