MD Communities Wins Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Cities Grant

Maryland communities received portions of a $1 million grant to support infrastructure projects such as improving the health of local waterways and increasing green space in urban areas. Conservationists have said it can help improve quality of life.

Chesapeake Bay Green streets, green jobs, green cities the grant was awarded to 13 projects in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

Jana Davis, president of Chesapeake Bay Trust, a Maryland-based grant partner, said many of the award-winning communities will use the funds for stormwater runoff control, which can combat flooding.

“It encourages water to seep into the ground instead of flooding local streets,” Davis explained. “Circulating water through the ground and filtering it helps clean the water so that when it enters natural systems it is cleaner than rolling over the surface of a parking lot where it picks up pollutants and empties directly into the local creek or bay.”

Stormwater management projects include green roofs and vertical rain gardens. Maryland grantees include community organizations in Baltimore, Mount Rainier, Preston and Columbia. The towns of Emmitsburg, Galena, Glen Echo and Millington also received a share of the grant.

The grant is funded in part by the Environmental Protection Agency and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. It will also help local communities increase the amount of green space, such as tree canopies and conservation grasslands.

Davis argued that every community should have green space within walking distance of all residents.

“It’s so important to have a green oasis, which also provides a beautiful space to hang out,” Davis said. “But also a place where the air quality is a bit better locally, where there is shade and where you can find communal facilities, whether it’s a park bench or of a body of water.”

Research has shown that tree canopies and urban forests can help cities retain stormwater, provide habitat for animals, reduce summer temperatures and store greenhouse gases. Increasing tree canopies is a goal of cities like Baltimore. Officials want to bring the city to 40% canopy cover by 2037.

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