Parts of the Chesapeake Bay watershed contain a high percentage of impervious cover – paved or other hard surfaces such as roofs and roadways that prevent rain water from being absorbed into the ground. Instead, water runs along these surfaces, collecting trash and substances such as motor oil, lawn fertilizers, and pesticides. This polluted stormwater flows into streams and rivers, where it threatens aquatic ecosystems and public health.
Effective stormwater management, on the other hand, creates safe paths for polluted runoff to be captured and filtered through the ground before it reaches waterways. This helps keep the environment clean and our communities healthy!
Project Location: Baltimore City, MD
Problem: Abandoned lots in Baltimore City were flooding and creating unsightly conditions, public health issues, and decreased property values.
Solution: A call about a flooded abandoned lot by community organizers in the Waverly neighborhood set in motion a series of events that are transforming areas of urban Baltimore into oases of nature, food, community, and placemaking - all while giving stormwater a place to go.
The Community Lot program, initiated by Civic Works and funded by grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and other community partners, reclaims and transforms abandoned lots throughout the city. When trainers and community volunteers break up impermeable surfaces and install gardens, the city’s dead zones come to life again.
Flooding from heavy rains has decreased, and nearby communities can now enjoy nature, access fresh fruit and vegetables, and bond with their neighbors. The Waverly Farmers Market is held weekly in this reclaimed lot providing fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and more.
Funding Sources: National Fish & Wildlife Foundation
Partners: Civic Works, AmeriCorps, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Waverly Main Street community