In Maryland, three departments are vitally concerned with the environment. Environmental protection is the responsibility of the Department of the Environment. Implementation of "smart growth" policies, which affect the environment, is conducted by the Department of Planning. Ensuring the preservation of Maryland's natural resources is part of the mandate of the Department of Natural Resources.
Floating wetlands (created by National Aquarium) with Mallard ducks, Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland, June 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.
Planted with native species, floating wetlands help clean water, and provide habitat for marine life.
The Maryland Environmental Service provides water and wastewater treatment, solid waste management, composting, recycling, dredged material management, hazardous materials cleanup, and renewable energy consulting services for private industry and federal, State and local governments.
In 2018, the Maryland Park Service, in addition to maintaining the State's Parks, conserved 804 acres of habitat for pollinators and, in an effort to improve water quality, administered stormwater projects.
Floating wetland (created by National Aquarium) in Patapsco River, Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland, June 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.
The General Assembly also addresses environmental concerns through the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, and the House Environment & Transportation Committee.
Eight environmental literacy standards have been required curricula in Maryland schools since 2011.
Skyline from Federal Hill, Baltimore, Maryland, May 2008. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Additional executive commissions and committees monitor environmental conditions and advise government agencies on environmental protection. These boards are as diverse as the Bay Restoration Fund Advisory Committee; the Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays; the Executive Committee for Dredged Material Management Plans; the Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities; the Hart-Miller-Pleasure Island Citizens Oversight Committee; and the Patuxent River Commission.
Skyline, townhouses & marinas on Patapsco River (view from Canton), Baltimore, Maryland, May 2002. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Based in Cambridge on Maryland's Eastern Shore, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is affiliated with the Maryland Sea Grant College.
Some county and municipal governments also oversee local agencies concerned with the environment. Montgomery County, for example, has a Department of Environmental Protection, while the Bureau of Environmental Services in Howard County also oversees some planning functions. In Frederick County, Sustainability and Environmental Resources focuses on sustainability and watershed management, and offers practical ways to protect the environment and conserve energy.
Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene c. carolina), Glen Burnie, Maryland, October 2009. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Near Edgewater, in Anne Arundel County, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, serves as an educational center, and conducts research on ecosystems of coastal zones, including the Chesapeake Bay estuary.
Charles McC. Mathias Laboratory, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, Maryland, April 2018. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
In Baltimore City, to prevent trash from floating into the Inner Harbor as part of the "Healthy Harbor Initiative", the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, a nonprofit organization (partly funded by Baltimore City), installed two wind- and solar-powered trash wheels. The first wheel, known as Mr. Trash Wheel, was placed at the mouth of Jones Falls in May 2014, while the second, called Professor Trash Wheel, was installed in Harris Creek in December 2016. Commissioned by the Maryland Port Administration, a third solar-powered trash wheel, Captain Trash Wheel, began operating in Masonville Cove in June 2018. A fourth trash wheel is planned for the mouth of the Gwynns Falls and will be managed by the Partnership. Since its installation, Mr. Trash Wheel has collected over 1.3 million pounds of trash, which then is incinerated to generate electricity.
Mr. Trash Wheel, mouth of Jones Falls, Baltimore, Maryland, April 2016. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.
The Maryland Coastal Bays Program assesses the health of Maryland's coastal bays, the bodies of water around Assateague Island and Ocean City. Assessments are made by measuring the progress of four water quality indicators (chlorophyll a, dissolved oxygen, nitrogen, & phosphorus) and two biotic indicators (hard clams & seagrass) toward ecological goals.
Male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), near Tawes Garden, Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis, Maryland, April 2017. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
In 2018, the coastal bays received an "incomplete" grade on the Program's 2018 Coastal Bays Report Card due to data collection problems for hard clams and seagrass, but the report showed that water quality has declined.
© Copyright October 31, 2019 Maryland State Archives