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Neighborhood Green Guide
Cleaning up the Harbor and its tributary streams may seem like a massive task (and it is), but many seemingly small actions can collectively make a difference!
To help residents, businesses, and other poperty owners understand the impact their land and buildings have on water quality and what they can do about it, Blue Water Baltimore has created the Water Audit Program.
This completely free program includes a consultation with one of Blue Water Baltimore's stormwater experts and qualify you for a number of free and discounted services to help you implement the most appropirate runoff reduction strategies fo ryour property.
Things EVERYONE can do contribute to clean water
Prevent it – Litter, pet waste, and excess fertilizers end up in our waterways are large storms. If we limit the trash and the pollution flowing from our yards and streets, we will help allow for a healthier Harbor downstream by lowering the amount of pollutants that end up in our streams.
Slow it – Studies have shown that slowing the movement of stormwater and keeping it onsite, rather than sending it directly into storm drains, which empty into our streams, can reduce stream erosion, sedimentation, and other processes that can further pollute the Harbor. Let’s get back to what nature intended before our communities were taken over with pavement - find ways to let the rain water soak into the ground instead of running onto the pavement and down the storm drains carrying pollutants into your neighborhood streams and the Harbor.
Filter it – If stormwater is kept onsite and then used for practices like watering our gardens the plants and the soils they live in can act as filters, actually cleansing the water before it reaches our streams and rivers, which eventually empty into the Harbor.
- Plant it – Along with providing filtration, the plants in our yards, parking islands, and even in our alleys can provide shady spaces for community gatherings and recreation. They also provide new habitat areas for birds and butterflies. Studies have shown many benefits associated with increased numbers of urban trees including increased public healthy, improved property values, community pride and investment.
Recommended Fertilizer Practices
|Correct Application Time||Times to Avoid Application|
Most Common Central Maryland Lawns:
Cool Season Grasses
1 month before topgrowth starts (late March in central MD) through early June.
Late August through 6 weeks after first killing frost.
Mid-June through mid-August
When turf is dormant due to heat, drought, or cold
Lawns Occasionally found in Maryland:
Warm Season Grasses
1 month before dormancy breaks (mid-April in central MD) through September 1st
September 1st through 1 month before dormancy breaks
Read more about Maryland grasses here. (link leaves website)
- Participate in neighborhood clean-up days to clear trash from storm drains and help maintain green infrastructure such as rain gardens and pervious pavement.
- Compost your organic kitchen waste.
- Clean up after your pet.
- Secure your trashcans and make sure they have tight-fitting lids.
- Decline plastic bags at your local store and use reusable bags instead.
- Don’t litter!
- Install rain barrels at downspouts.
- Adopt a stream or an alleyway and/or participate in stream monitoring and neighborhood data collection projects to gather local data.
- Limit your use of fertilizers and chemicals, like pesticides and herbicides.
- Plant a rain garden and native perennials instead of a lawn.
- Spread mulch in your garden to improve soil quality.
- Use permeable pavers instead of pavement.
- Become and community leader.
- If you rent, talk to your landlord about sustainable practices like rain barrels and rain gardens that could be added to your house/apartment.
- Call your councilman/woman and support the bottle bill.
- Ask for re-usable materials – bags, supplies, etc. and support the bag tax at your neighborhood retailer.
- Volunteer with Blue Water Baltimore, the Parks & People Foundation, and other local organizations working to clean up our waterways.
- Perform a stormwater audit
- Recycle and keep tight lids on your trashcans
- Limit your use of fertilizers and chemicals.
- Post signage for sustainable practices on your property.
- Compost your organic waste.
- Install a green roof.
- Disconnect your downspouts and install a cistern or rain barrels.
- Plan parking with stormwater planters or bioretention.
- Remove pavement and plant gardens.
- Promote stewardship days for your employees, students, and/or congregation.
- Support the bag tax and the bottle bill.
- Promote recycling and reuse.
- Partner with the City on installing green infrastructure on nearby streets.
- Partner with other organizations and businesses to organize local open space stewardship and clean stream days.
- Develop a neighborhood greening plan in coordination with the City and County.
- Start a community farm.
- Pick up litter.
- Adopt a stream and/or participate in volunteer stream monitoring and local neighborhood data collection, and serve as liaison between the community and the City/County.
- Coordinate with City agencies to implement your neighborhood greening plan.
- Engage community members on benefits of greening and Best Management Practices for stormwater.
- Promote stewardship of neighborhood landscapes including vacant lands, green space, streets, storm drains, etc.
- Provide information on sustainable practices to households.
- Support practices including recycling, reuse, compost, rain harvesting, etc.
- Partner with Blue Water Baltimore, Baltimore’s watershed association.
- Partner with the City and implementing vacant lot restoration projects.
- Create a neighborhood walking tour of Healthy Harbor homes, schools and businesses.
- Sponsor a “Healthy Harbor” neighborhood festival at a local park or waterway.
To download steps for the development of a neighborhood greening plan, click here.