New Report on Baltimore Cty. Watershed (MD)
Baltimore, MD, 9/15/03:The Prettyboy Watershed Stewardship Exchange Team Report will be released to the public Thursday, September 18, 2003 at the Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church between 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Area residents are encouraged to attend. Recommendations for the protection and restoration of the Prettyboy Watershed will be summarized, and local officials and area residents will have an opportunity to discuss the findings and identify critical next steps, including the recommendation for a new citizen-based watershed group.
“This report provides local communities with a comprehensive set of strategies to protect water resources,” said Gould Charshee of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, a key partner in this project. “With this plan for action, we can protect both the water supply for the Baltimore Metropolitan Area and the quality of life for the residents in the watershed.”
The Prettyboy Watershed is one of four watersheds throughout the country selected competitively to participate in the Source Water Stewardship Program, a two-year project funded by the U.S. EPA to demonstrate the effectiveness of using land conservation and forest management to protect drinking water sources. Project partners including the nonprofit Trust for Public Land and the University of Massachusetts are working with community stakeholders to analyze existing data, develop locally viable management alternatives, and implement land conservation and forest management strategies for drinking water protection.
Prettyboy Reservoir, located in northern Baltimore County, is a key component of the water supply system for the Baltimore Metropolitan area, which serves some 1.8 million people. The watershed, which originates in York County, Pennsylvania, encompasses portions of both Carroll and Baltimore counties in Maryland.
The report is the result of more than a year of research and planning, which culminated in April of this year. From April 6-11, 2003, the Trust for Public Land convened a Stewardship Exchange Team of five volunteer experts to work with local governments, nonprofit organizations, and interested citizens. The aim was to help watershed residents and groups identify threats to local water quality and to recommend specific actions, which would enhance the current efforts to protect the area’s water resources. The team met intensively with citizens and local officials to review available watershed maps and data, to discuss major challenges, and to answer key questions about watershed protection which had been developed locally in advance of the exchange week. The recommendations resulting from this research and input have been compiled into a written report, which is now being made available to the public.
The report’s findings and recommendations fall into four categories:
- Understanding the Watershed-encompasses recommendations on ways to improve the analysis of existing land-cover and water-quality data, and how to enhance ongoing stream- and lake- monitoring efforts.
- Interjurisdictional Coordination and Partnership Building-includes a recommendation to create a citizens-based Watershed Management Group and the establishment of a watershed restoration small-grants program.
- Land Conservation-recommends the identification and protection of high-quality forest areas and that local communities set a goal of no net loss of forest land in the watershed.
- Land Management-suggests changes in Baltimore City’s management of forests in the City-owned watershed area, including a reduction the number of deer on the City-owned lands. Suggestions are also made for improving the effectiveness of best management practices on farms, including a recommendation that soil conservation districts increase their outreach to non-farmers now moving into the area in increasing numbers.
“According to the Exchange Team, Prettyboy Watershed is at a critical threshold, where the continued loss of forested land could have a significant impact on water quality. This report gives clear guidance on how Baltimore City and Baltimore, Carroll and York counties can implement on-the-ground strategies to protect water resources, while protecting the character and quality of their communities,” said Caryn Ernst of the Trust for Public Land.
This effort is one of many ongoing efforts to implement the cooperative Reservoir Watershed Protection Agreement, which involves all three metropolitan Baltimore water-supply reservoirs. A reaffirmation of this agreement was signed in a public ceremony in February 2003.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. The Trust for Public Land (www.tpl.org) has preserved over 1.5 million acres nationwide.
To obtain more information about the Exchange Team Report, call Caryn Ernst of the Trust for Public Land at 202-543-7552 or Gould Charshee of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council at 410-732-0500, extension 1006. Copies of the report will be available that evening and online at TPL’s website, www.tpl.org/landandwater.