We are already seeing the impacts of a changing climate through heavy rain.
This past Monday, Governor Hogan’s Administration circulated a press release praising local governments for having "met their requirements under state law to develop financing plans to reduce polluted stormwater runoff and protect and restore local waters and the Chesapeake Bay." But most of these plans don't actually meet the requirements of the law.
I had a relative who told me when I was growing up: “If you want to make sure it rains, plan an event that must be held outside.”
I’m pleased to say that wisdom proved correct when our tour of green infrastructure projects at Providence College was held in a light, steady rainfall.
The fact that Mother Nature sent us a little precipitation served to better illustrate how the network of campus bioswales helps direct and infiltrate storm water runoff.
Stormwater runoff is one of the leading contributors to pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. After big storms, the water carries whatever is on the ground and in the streets into our waterways. Impervious surfaces, such as the roads and pavement that cover densely populated areas, don’t allow rain to seep into the ground, causing more polluted stormwater to enter the Bay.
On Saturday, July 30th, a flash flood devastated Ellicott City. Approximately six inches of rain fell in two hours, which carried away over 100 vehicles and caused millions of dollars of damage to the City’s roads, sidewalks, and buildings. Not only was there severe destruction of infrastructure, but the storm also killed two people who were swept away by the water.
Right now, over 90 percent of New Jersey's waters do not meet one or more water quality standards. These standards are set by New Jersey under the law and the state is obligated to meet them.
So, one would think that our state government would be doing all they can to improve the quality of our water by ensuring the standards are enforced. Nope. They are, in fact, doing the complete opposite.