Frederick County gets back on track

Clean Water Coalition Spurs Increased Investment in Restoration Projects

Monocacy River by Amit Sarda

Monocacy River by Amit Sarda

What a difference a year can make.

Frederick County, Maryland, will spend more than $3.5 million on projects to improve water quality in local streams and creeks, an increase of nearly one million dollars over last year. By 2020, the county is slated to spend nearly $8 million on restoration efforts.

For a county that’s home to some of the most polluted streams in the state, investments of this scale are positive steps toward restoring swimmable, fishable waterways and maintaining sustainable communities.

Just a year ago, the prospect for clean water was looking bleak in Frederick County. The County Commission took measures to roll back clean water protections and bucked the state by abysmally funding the county’s local dedicated fee at one cent per household.

A Clean Water Frederick river cleanup volunteer from  Frederick

A Clean Water Frederick river cleanup volunteer from Frederick

As the Frederick News-Post affirmed, the Frederick County Council’s clean water investments put Frederick back on track.

It’s good news for county residents, whose concerns about harmful sprawl and increasing pollution were heard loud and clear.

To quote Tuscarora resident Austin, “Clean water should not be an ‘option’.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Potomac Conservancy members and online activists, like Austin, played a key role in advocating for improved clean water protections. More than 1,500 county residents joined our cause and signed petitions, submitted public comments, and engaged local officials on clean water issues.

The Clean Water Frederick coalition activated a vocal clean water constituency in Frederick County. Together with our coalition partners, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and Trout Unlimited, we empowered citizens to speak up for healthy communities and made clean water a forefront issue in the local election. Funding from the Town Creek Foundation supports Clean Water Frederick and local clean water efforts in the area.

This year, Clean Water Action joins the Clean Water Frederick coalition, bringing firepower to our on-the-ground efforts through grassroots and community organizing. “With hundreds of members locally and a long history of working in Frederick, we are pleased to be part of Clean Water Frederick,” said Brent Bolin, Chesapeake Regional Director at Clean Water Action.

Together, we made change happen.

The Frederick County Council’s decision to properly fund local restoration efforts will contribute tremendously to local and Bay cleanup efforts and sets an important precedent for other communities in Western Maryland.

Bolin confirms saying, “The commitment to increased restoration funding is good news for county residents. By fixing problems now, these restoration projects improve quality of life and reduce future costs to county taxpayers.”

“The longer we wait to plan and invest to protect our water resources, the harder and more expensive it will be,” says Kai Hagen, executive director of Envision Frederick County. “Since everyone agrees that protecting water is a priority, we have to also remember that it won’t happen by accident, and understand that good planning and smart investments now are critical,” Hagen says.

Projects slated for the next year include stream restoration, pond retrofits, and other nature-based solutions that will capture rainwater before it becomes polluted runoff. Projects are planned throughout the county, including in areas like Point of Rocks and Hunting Creek just south of Thurmont.

Stream restoration projects and land use improvements are local components of a much larger, multi-state effort to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay by 2025. Frederick County’s improvements are part of county efforts to comply with an MS4 permit, issued to the county by the state. MS4 permits are issued to control polluted runoff, the only growing source of pollution to the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay.

There’s a lot at stake in Frederick County — the culture of rural life, the health of wildlife, and the safety of drinking water.

Together we can win this fight.


PCcleanwaterfrederick300wClean Water Frederick

Joining together with the goal of building upon the sustainable clean water movement in Frederick County, Maryland, Potomac Conservancy, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, and Trout Unlimited launched the Clean Water Frederick campaign on October 1, 2014.

Each of our organizations play a unique role in promoting accountable decision-making, getting projects on the ground to drive clean water solutions, and encouraging a wide array of clean water advocates to speak up and stand up for local waterways. Learn more about the Lead Partners >

PCegrets300wChesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan

Restoration projects in Frederick County, Maryland, are small components of large-scale, multi-state plans to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay over the next decade.

In a recent blog post, Ridge Hall with the Chesapeake Legal Alliance explains the ins and outs of TMDLs, a recent precedent-setting court case, and why certain pollutants are so harmful to our water. Read more >

Potomac Conservancy on the web

Potomac Conservancy on Facebook

Potomac Conservancy on Twitter