**SOCIAL MEDIA RELEASE** Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary highlights the Bay-Wise Yardstick Program in Frederick

FREDERICK, MD (December 18, 2013) – Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Secretary Robert M. Summers highlighted the University of Maryland Extension’s Bay-Wise Yardstick program today at a private residence in the City of Frederick. The Yardstick program assists residents in measuring how their landscaping practices impact the Chesapeake Bay and makes recommendations to homeowners on best stormwater management practices.  The homeowners that Secretary Summers visited have completed 54 of the 64 suggested Bay-friendly practices of the Yardstick program, including a permeable patio, rain barrel installation, 80 native plant species and mulched planting beds containing trees, shrubs and groundcovers along the low edges of the property to catch stormwater.

Frederick is the fourth stop on MDE’s Stormwater Innovations Tour, a campaign bringing awareness to the stormwater remediation efforts of government, communities and citizens around the State. The tour will conclude with the Smart, Green & Growing Clean Water Trade Show on January 7, 2014. For more information on stormwater, visit MDE’s stormwater 101 webpage.

MORE INFORMATION:

The Bay-Wise Yardstick program assists residents in measuring how their landscaping practices affect the Chesapeake Bay. Homeowners can contact the Bay-Wise Master Gardner program in 16 Maryland counties and sign-up for a free site visit and evaluation of their yard.  Bay-Wise certified Master Gardeners will assess several environmentally-friendly practices, including: controlling stormwater runoff, protecting the waterfront, mowing and fertilizing, managing yard pests, mulching and recycling and choosing the correct plants. After practices are completed successfully, homeowners receive a University of Maryland Extension sign to display their property certifying their Bay-Wise status.

CORE FACTS:

  • Through the monitoring and accountability efforts implemented under Baystat, Maryland has led the Chesapeake Bay watershed states by meeting 100 percent of the two-year milestones set for 2010-2011 and expected 100 percent of the 2012-2013 milestones.
  • Urban and suburban stormwater pollution accounts for 18 percent of the pollution into our rivers, streams, lakes and drinking water reservoirs.
  • Under the federal Clean Water Act, the State and federal governments work together with local jurisdictions to curb this large polluting sector by setting targets for stormwater pollution reduction that the jurisdictions must reach.
  • Because every jurisdiction is different, the local government drafts its own plan for how it will reach its stormwater pollution reduction goals.
  • The local jurisdiction writes the plan, picks the projects that will be implemented under the plan and is responsible to the federal and State governments for how the goal will be met.
  • During the 2012 Maryland General Assembly session, lawmakers passed House Bill 987 to give local jurisdictions the flexibility needed to set fees that would work for each jurisdiction and a way to fund the pollution reduction projects needed to meet the goals set under the Clean Water Act.
  • Maryland is 75 percent of the way toward meeting its 2025 federal pollution diet goal.
  • Several jurisdictions have discounts and rebates available for those businesses and residents that have taken steps to reduce stormwater runoff on their properties.

QUOTES:

“Under the leadership of the O’Malley-Brown Administration, Maryland continues to make great strides in improving the quality of our groundwater, streams and rivers, but there is still more that needs to be done. We need to shift the spotlight from the rain and focus on keeping our landscape clean and directing runoff into areas where the water can soak into the ground, eliminating erosion and pollution from entering our waterways.  Local governments, communities and non-profit organizations are working together, not because they have to, but because they know it is the right thing to do. The Bay-Wise Yardstick Program is the perfect example of this collaboration and is helping to educate while improving water quality making our waterways swimmable, fishable and livable for future generations of Marylanders.”

–          Robert M. Summers, Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment

“The best way to address the environmental problems that face our State is by working together to identify and put into place the most-effective, science-driven practices,” said Joseph Gill, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources   “These partnerships support the great work of local communities, help restore our most valuable natural resource, the Chesapeake Bay, and build the stewards for tomorrow.”

–           Joe Gill, Secretary, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

See photos from today’s event on MDE’s Flickr Page

MDE MISSION:

Our mission is to protect and restore the quality of Maryland’s air, water and land resources, while fostering smart growth, a thriving and sustainable economy and healthy communities.

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