Severn Watershed News

severn riverJanuary 2012 - Community & Environmental Defense Services (CEDS) has just completed a Severn River Preliminary Watershed Audit. The poor condition of existing stormwater BMPs, the large amount of exposed soil on construction sites, and the few proposed projects meeting forest conservation requirements on site does not bode well for efforts to restore the Severn and the Bay like the Chesapeake Pollution Diet, Watershed Implementation Plans, and the NPDES Municipal Stormwater Permits.

Comprehensive Watershed Audits, such as that conducted in the Severn River system, is a new approach developed by CEDS for accelerating aquatic resource recovery by augmenting efforts to bring watershed activities into compliance with clean-water laws. The Audit begins with a preliminary survey of regulated activities within a watershed to determine if pollution releases exceed allowed limits. CEDS then uses Equitable Solutions to assist those responsible for each activity to quickly halt excessive pollution releases. When this cooperation first/Equitable Solutions approach fails to halt the pollution, CEDS uses Smart Legal Strategies to achieve full compliance.

The first Preliminary Audit has just been completed in the Severn River watershed. The Audit was conducted in concert with the Severn River Association (SRA).

The principal findings of the Preliminary Audit are:

The Severn River Preliminary Watershed Audit report is available at: ceds.org/audit

sraIn the past, watershed advocates would have relied completely on regulatory agencies to verify and correct the deficiencies noted in this Preliminary Audit. However, given unusually tight budgets and the limited capability of these agencies, CEDS and the Severn River Association have opted for a much more proactive approach.

Jointly they will be working directly with the parties responsible for each of the failing facilities. The SRA and CEDS will offer help in getting the parties the technical assistance and other resources needed to swiftly restore failing facilities.

The SRA and CEDS will also reach out to residents of the Severn River watershed who do not normally become directly involved in this type of effort. Many of these people live near facilities which could go from an asset to a quality of life detriment if not properly maintained. CEDS and the SRA hope to enlist these residents in monitoring facilities and providing government with the public support essential to maintaining each at peak-pollution trapping efficiency.

Finally, every home in the watershed is no more than a 15-minute walk from the Severn or a tributary stream. These waters could provide many benefits to these residents. But most are probably unaware that the waters exist or fear the possible presence of pollution. The SRA and CEDS will seek to educate residents about all they could gain by actively supporting the effort to fully restore the Severn. For further detail contact CEDS at 410-654-3021, Help@ceds.org or visit: ceds.org/audit. For more information about the Severn River Association please visit their website severnriver.org

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Richard Klein
Community & Environmental Defense Services
811 Crystal Palace Court
Owings Mills, MD  21117
410-654-3021 Office
443-421-5964 Cell

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