Urban Waters Voices: Patapsco River

[Music Playing] Narratorr: The Patapsco River
Watershed spans four counties, flows to the Baltimore
city harbor, and ultimately into Chesapeake Bay. The watershed consists of forested
areas, rural areas, productive farms as well as suburban,
urban and industrial areas. With increased urban development,
the Patapsco Watershed faces a variety of new challenges
like stormwater runoff and higher sediment loads. Mike Galvin: One of the biggest
issues that we’re struggling in that’s a primary issue
environmentally, economically, socially is this 30,000 vacant
and abandoned lots in Baltimore. When you have a lot of land
draining into a small body of water, the land can make the
water sick if there’s a lot of environmental pollution on the land. And we’ve focused on trying to turn
those 30,000 vacant and abandoned lots around into something positive. Narrator: The Green Pattern Book
is a tool to help stakeholders use greening techniques to transform
city-owned vacant lots into a network of green spaces, such
as parks and community gardens. These greening techniques can
improve water quality in the Patapsco Watershed by reducing
and filtering polluted stormwater runoff before it enters
Baltimore’s streams and harbors. The Growing Green Design
Competition, co-sponsored by EPA and Baltimore City, allows local
stakeholders to use the Green Pattern Book and submit designs
to be funded and implemented. The location is working to
serve underserved communities in Baltimore, too. Mike Galvin: Baltimore has a
high minority population; many neighborhoods have high
unemployment, 20-30 percent. Another great partner in the work
that we’re doing in Baltimore is Humanim, which is an NGO
that specializes in workforce development and social enterprise. Narrator: Through Humanim’s Brick by
Brick program, the abandoned houses and buildings located on vacant
lots throughout the city are being deconstructed so that the old building
materials can be salvaged and resold. For every 50 buildings
deconstructed, Humanim creates 24 jobs for local Baltimore residents. Mike Galvin: We’ve got over 60
entities that are involved in the partnership, so we’ve got great
diversity of partners participating in the partnership. But the greatest number of
participants we have in our partnership are NGOs. Narrator: To track how their
network of environmental stewardship partners is interacting and
changing, the Baltimore location uses a tool called STEW-MAP,
short for the Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project. STEW-MAP was developed by
the USDA Forest Service. Mike Galvin: What they have done
is created a network analysis of all the groups involved in natural
resources stewardship and their relationships to each other. What we’re hoping to accomplish is
increasing the size of the network, increasing the strength of ties
between members of the network, and increasing the number of ties
between members of the network. And that is how we will know that
we are being effective in network development for the partnership. Narrator: The Baltimore location
believes that establishing a strong network of partners is critical to
restoring the city’s urban waters and insuring that this positive
change will persist for years to come. Mike Galvin: And ultimately, of
course, it’s having the middle branch be fishable and swimmable. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish,
that’s the big picture vision. It’s really exciting and
we’re really grateful to have the Urban Waters Partnerships
active in Patapsco Back River.

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