The Severn River Association (SRA) and the Magothy River Association have submitted a joint policy letter to Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, urging the county to adopt land use and environmental policies with a goal of no net increase in impervious surface within the Severn and Magothy watersheds.
The purpose of the proposed no-net-gain policy is twofold. It would:
During his address to SRA at its annual meeting on May 21, County Executive Steuart Pittman specifically acknowledged this joint SRA-MRA policy letter.
He praised SRA and MRA for raising this issue, which he described as intriguing, and he urged its members to stay engaged with his office and their other representatives.
Pittman noted, in particular, that the county will soon be submitting legislation to strengthen Anne Arundel County’s forest conservation laws, a policy that would help contain the growth of impervious surface.
Impervious surface – roads, roofs, parking lots and driveways – causes rain to run off more violently into streams and waterways rather than soaking into the ground.
This heavy stormwater runoff then carries a variety of pollutants — heavy metals from brake pads, motor oil, fertilizer, nutrients and dirt — and dumps them into our waterways, destroying stream beds and damaging culverts.
This type of runoff is the only pollution category that is steadily increasing in our county.
If more than 15% of a watershed is covered with impervious surface, restoring the attendant waterway becomes very difficult and expensive.
Both the Severn and Magothy watersheds currently contain over 20% impervious surface.
Pittman also announced a plan to hire more county inspectors to ensure that any new development adheres to existing stormwater and environmental protection laws.
Click here to listen to Pittman’s talk before the Severn River Association.