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Public/Private Partnership to Help Fund and Clean up Local Waterways
Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley announced that Baltimore City has entered into a partnership with Adopt-A-Waterway to provide positive solutions to the area's urban and storm water runoff. The pioneering pact will bring together environmentally minded local, regional, national businesses and government to raise funds for storm water cleanup - at no expense to local taxpayers. The Mayor was joined by Paul Polizzotto, founder, president and CEO, Adopt-A-Waterway, and Jay Sakai, Head of the Bureau of Water and Wastewater, Baltimore City Department of Public Works.
Baltimore's five-year agreement with Adopt-A-Waterway could potentially bring in more than $1 million to the city for cleanup and to aid in the city's compliance with federal clean water laws. In addition, Adopt-A-Waterway will provide a community and education program worth potentially several million dollars. The program will target all of the city's major waterways, including Baltimore Harbor, Jones Falls, Herring Run, Gwynns Falls and the Middle Branch. Revenue from the initiative will help fund debris collectors, greening projects, stream bank restoration, storm water management and other new technologies designed to reduce trash, debris and pollutants from these critical waterways.
"One of Baltimore's highest priorities is to enhance the quality of life for all residents," said Mayor O'Malley. "In order to accomplish this, it is essential that we clean up the local streams that run through our city and then to the Chesapeake Bay–the economic, recreational and environmental heart of our state. Our partnership with Adopt-A-Waterway is designed to help resolve this critical environmental issue by recruiting the private sector to raise funds and support our efforts to restore and preserve streams and the Bay."
The Mayor and Polizzotto made the announcement this morning at a press conference at the Baltimore Aquarium. Attending were representatives of the first commercial sponsors of the Baltimore project, including John C. Curry, director, public affairs and government and Terry Wallace of BP America, Inc., Brooke Hodges, senior vice president, market development manager, Bank of America, Ted Rouse, Tonja Bush and Kristin Doehring of Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse, Inc., Mike Burke acting associate director, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Chesapeake Bay Program, Peyton Robertson, deputy director, NOAA, Chesapeake Bay Office; Bruce Heinlein of Chesapeake Bay Roasting, and Honey Konicoff, vice president, marketing, Phillips Foods, Inc. Other attendees included environmental supporters of Adopt-A-Waterway's Baltimore project, including Will Baker, president, The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Steve Fleischli, executive director, Waterkeeper Alliance.
Adopt-A-Waterway is an award-winning national program, and the only one in the nation that brings together the public and private sectors to raise money for local governments to clean up polluted waterways as well as comply with environmental regulations - at no expense to local taxpayers. Currently, Adopt-A-Waterway cleanup programs are underway in Miami, Fla., Long Beach, Calif., Sacramento County, Calif., and several other communities in California, Westchester County, N.Y., and Nassau County, N.Y.
"We welcome Baltimore City as the first in the mid-Atlantic region to participate in Adopt-A-Waterway," said Polizzotto. "This is a program is a win-win. Adopt-A-Waterway provides communities with the revenue streams to clean up their waterways and comply with federal and state clean water laws. At the same time, it benefits local, regional and national companies who serve as sponsors and as a result of their participation, help to improve the quality of life of their consumers."
"Bank of America is pleased to support Adopt-a-Waterway," said Laura Gamble, State President, Bank of America, a corporate sponsor of Adopt-A-Waterway in Baltimore. "We believe that environmental protection is an integral component of doing business in today's world. The health of our water and the environment not only affects the quality of our lives; it also serves as the foundation for the sustainable economy on which our business and communities depend."
Corporate sponsor BP's Dealer Manager Terry Wallace noted, "As a responsible business striving for sustainable growth, BP understands that water is a critical resource, one we all must work hard to protect. And, all across the Mid-Atlantic region, it clearly is understood that the Chesapeake Bay is a critical water resource, one we all must work hard to protect. That's why BP is proud to partner with Adopt-A-Waterway, a program that will have a clear, immediate and positive impact on the quality of water flowing to the Bay."
Added Mike Burke, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "Urban stormwater run-off contributes a large - and growing - proportion of the pollution problem facing the Chesapeake Bay. Harnessing the power of the private sector will leave Baltimore's streams and rivers cleaner, the Inner Harbor more attractive to both residents and tourists alike, and our beloved Chesapeake Bay healthier. The City of Baltimore and Adopt-A-Waterway have earned our support for their cost-effective, innovative financial partnership that will bring us cleaner water - and that's a bottom line we can all support."
Under the Adopt-A-Waterway plan, businesses fund the cleanup efforts through corporate sponsorships in exchange for representation in a creative mix of multi-media, including innovative public service spots for cable television combining the look of a highly produced television commercial with an environmental and educational message, artfully designed signage with an environmental "best practice" reminder, ear-catching radio spots and featured articles in Pure Waterways magazine, the first quarterly publication of its kind in the country to present environmental articles and tips, targeted to local areas and supported by local and national businesses.
Said Kim Coble, executive director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, "If we are to save the Chesapeake Bay for our children and future generations, we all must work together to improve the water quality of our rivers and streams. The Adopt-A-Waterway program provides a great mechanism to help address the serious problem of stormwater runoff into Baltimore Harbor. We are pleased to see Baltimore City taking steps to improve the health of Baltimore Harbor and the Bay."
Steve Fleischli, executive director, Waterkeeper Alliance added, "Adopt-A-Waterway is a great way for business interests, municipal governments and the environmental community to come together to address water pollution - and to do so without public expense. I commend the City of Baltimore for looking at creative solutions to these problems."
Adopt-A-Waterway is the only organization in the nation that brings together the public and private sectors to raise money for local governments to clean up pollution caused by stormwater runoff. In addition to direct funding, Adopt-A-Waterway offers local governments comprehensive educational materials as well as television and radio public service announcements, communicating important environmental messages to the community. Adopt-A-Waterway's programs are managed by the company, Environmental Communication, and are offered to local governments at no cost--and at no expense to local taxpayers.
Sponsoring Businesses Include BP America, Inc; Bank of America, Chesapeake Bay Roasting, Henrietta Development Corporation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse, Inc., NOAA and Phillips Foods, Inc; Environmental Supporters Include The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Waterkeeper Alliance.