By Timothy Male
Nationally, approximately $4-$8 billion/year in local funding is being used to help offset the harmful effects of urban stormwater runoff, clean up local rivers, lakes and bays, or improve sources of drinking water. Maryland counties have spent more than $1 billion in local funds on green infrastructure and stormwater projects, with goals to help improve the Chesapeake Bay.
Our report, “Stormwater innovation,” looks at how two of the leading local governments in the country are succeeding or failing in work to deliver effective stormwater projects on public and private land.
Montgomery County, Maryland, was once a national leader in running an effective stormwater program, but has fallen behind on permit requirements and progress in dealing with polluted stormwater runoff. Meanwhile nearby Prince George’s County, once lagging on stormwater treatment progress, is quickly catching up. Prince George’s is already known for its innovations in financing stormwater projects and building one of the country’s largest environmental Public Private Partnerships with Corvias, Inc. to make it happen.
Stormwater programs can be structured to improve water quality, but also provide valuable social outcomes—like minority jobs and local employment. We’ve seen that come true in Prince George’s County.
The report provides concrete actions that incoming Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the County Council can take to improve its next contracts. Incoming Prince George’s County’s Executive, Angela Alsobrooks, has an easy opportunity to simply continue a nationally-recognized and locally successful program that will be able to deliver its biggest benefits on her watch.
Go here to read about the report's key findings on the Environmental Policy Innovation Center website.