Programmatic Accomplishments, 2009-2011
- Established BayStat: For the first time in Maryland Bay Restoration efforts, the Governor and senior staff meet regularly with Cabinet Secretaries from key agencies to review progress and make critical decisions. The BayStat website provides transparent tracking of progress to inform the public and hold agencies accountable. BayStat is now a model for a new federal ChesapeakeStat effort to track restoration actions watershed-wide.
- Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Trust Fund: This new dedicated fund, authorized for up to $50 million annually, supports projects and programs to reduce non-point source pollution in Maryland waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. In its first three years, the Trust Fund targeted more than $34 million in priority watersheds resulting in an estimated total reduction of 1.5 million pounds of nitrogen, 117,000 pounds of phosphorus, and 111 tons of sediment. The Trust Fund also supports key nutrient reduction activities including 16 Soil Conservation District staff positions, new nonpoint source reduction technologies, and the local economies through Maryland's Innovative Technology Fund.
- Record Cover Crop Implementation: In the fall of 2010 (FY 2011), 1,567 farmers planted 400,331 acres of cover crops on their fields exceeding Maryland’s first 2-year milestone goal of 325,000 acres. In 2011 (FY 2012), 1,585 farmers planted 429,818 acres of cover crops, exceeding the State’s second 2-year milestone goal of 355,000 acres.
- New CAFO regulations: Maryland issued new regulations for handling 85 percent of the poultry litter generated from its poultry operations. The first state in the region to implement an EPA-approved regulatory program, Maryland went beyond new federal requirements to protect surface waters and implemented a state permit to protect State groundwater as well.
- New Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permits: There has been significant regulatory focus on stormwater discharge permits issued to Maryland's 10 largest jurisdictions and the State Highway Administration, which require control of stormwater pollution from existing developed land. The first in the next generation of MS4 permits was issued to Montgomery County in February 2010. This and all subsequent permits will accelerate restoration of developed land area through improved stormwater management practices.
- Septic System Upgrades: Maryland passed a law in 2009 requiring that all new or replacement septic systems in the Critical Area include the best available technology for the removal of nitrogen. Bay Restoration Fund grants are prioritized to help homeowners with failing systems comply with this requirement. In 2007, $17 million in septic upgrade funds were unspent and Marylanders upgraded fewer than 50 systems. Today, Maryland spends revenue as it is collected, resulting in upgrades to more than 3,000 systems.
- Anacostia Trash TMDL: The EPA, the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland established a new TMDL for trash in the Anacostia River, making it the first interstate river in the nation with this type of Clean Water Act trash limit.
- Fertilizer Use Act: Because 44 percent of purchased fertilizers are for non-agricultural purposes, Maryland passed a law to reduce the amount of nutrient run-off from lawns, golf courses, parks, recreation areas and other non-agricultural sources. According to the Chesapeake Bay Commission, about 14 percent of the nitrogen and 8 percent of the phosphorus entering the Bay can be traced to non-agricultural urban and suburban sources—mainly lawns.
- Maryland Trading Program: Maryland passed a law to enable the exchange (buying and selling) of nutrient-reduction credits that have monetary value to help reduce nitrogen and phosphorus in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
- P Site Index (PSI): Maryland scientists updated the PSI, an assessment tool that identifies the relative risk for phosphorus (P) losses from agricultural production fields to nearby bodies of water.
- Environmental Site Design: In 2007, Maryland adopted legislation requiring the use of better site planning techniques, non-structural practices, and small-scale stormwater management facilities to control new development runoff statewide. Practices such as vegetated swales, pervious pavers, green roofs, cisterns, and micro-bioretention and rain gardens are now required to mimic natural hydrology and replicate the runoff characteristics or woods. Many of these practices were previously optional. These state-of-the-arts, cost-efficient stormwater techniques apply to all new development approved after May 2010.
Programmatic Accomplishments, 2012
- Bay Restoration Fund Fee Increase: In 2012, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation introduced by Governor O’Malley that doubles the Bay Restoration Fund Fee to generate the revenue needed to fully implement Maryland’s wastewater treatment plant enhancement schedule by 2017 and upgrade more than 1,300 septic systems to best available technology annually.
- Increased Funding in the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund: In response to the WIP and the increased burden on local governments to achieve nutrient reduction goals, Maryland has continued to increase funding in the Trust Fund. For Fiscal Year 2013, in addition to $25 million (pending) for the Trust Fund, $38 million in general obligation bonds were made available to local communities for implementation of stormwater capital improvements. These funds will not only kick start restoration at the local level, but also create and retain green jobs in Maryland's economy. Funding was also increased to support implementation of natural filters on public lands ($9 million), and funding for Soil Conservation Districts from 16 to 39 positions ($2.2 million). In addition, funding for the cover crop program is at $12 million – a record level.
- Stormwater Management - Watershed Protection and Restoration Program: In 2012, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation that requires the Phase I MS4 permitted jurisdictions to develop and implement a stormwater utility fee by July 1, 2013.
- Voluntary Agricultural Nutrient and Sediment Credit Certification Program: Authorizes the Department of Agriculture to establish requirements for the voluntary certification and registration of sediment credits on agricultural land.
- Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012: In 2012, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation introduced by the Governor requiring local governments to establish tiers for new development by December 31, 2012. The law restricts the use of septic systems in major subdivisions of more rural and sensitive areas. The law also allows for limited subdivision of agricultural properties and helping preserve farm and forestland. This legislation will help Maryland grow smarter and allow local jurisdictions to save money on additional roads and public services by requiring growth in existing areas.
- PlanMaryland: Through a 2012 executive order, Governor O’Malley adopted PlanMaryland, Maryland’s first sustainable growth plan, which will prevent the loss of more than 300,000 acres of forest and farmland over the next 25 years while accommodating a projected one million additional residents, 500,000 new households and 600,000 new jobs in the State. PlanMaryland achieves this by improving coordination between state agencies and local governments on smart growth efforts; stimulating economic development and revitalization in towns, cities and other existing communities; and addressing the rapid pace of land consumption which, since 1970 has escalated at double the rate of housing growth and triple the rate of population increase.
- Residential BMP Tracking and Crediting Tool: Beginning in 2013, homeowners and watershed groups may upload their BMP implementation into an on-line platform or a mobile app for local governments to access and ground-truth. Once verified by local jurisdiction staff, university agents or other state trained volunteers, the data will be available for use by local governments when reporting milestone implementation.