In this file photo, bikers in 2015’s Cycle For Cecil fundraiser for Cecil Land Trust cross the covered bridge on North Little Elk Creek Road. The Trust has focused on conservation and stream bed restoration projects in the intervening years.
ELKTON — In partnership with Cecil County, between 2017 and 2020 the Cecil Land Trust (CLT), the non-profit land trust that supports conservation efforts throughout the county, has reduced over 36,000 pounds of nitrogen, 3,300 pounds of phosphorus and 4,500 tons of sediment from entering the Chesapeake Bay through a series of stream bed restoration projects.
As a result of the projects, CLT restored a total of 92,237 linear feet of stream bed in the county.
The partnership between the county and the CLT is a public-private partnership that works to finance and build restoration and land conservation projects across the county that are only compensated if successful.
“In our case, this pay-for-success model is a partnership to design, permit and construct stream restoration projects in the county,” said the Chief of the Stormwater Management Division, Van Funk. “The projects not only restored habitats and improved local water quality but they also provided nutrients and credits for the County to meet our MS4 permit requirements.”
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems – otherwise referred to as MS4 Permits are permits administered by the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) that hold counties accountable for waterway pollution.
Cecil County holds a Phase II MS4 Permit which requires the county to manage, implement and enforce programs for controlling storm water discharge in accordance with the Clean Water Act.
“Basically, the goal of the permit is to reduce the amount of pollutants entering our waterways and to protect and improve water quality,” said Funk.
The six minimum control measures listed by the MS4 permit are: public education, public involvement and participation, illicit discharge detection and elimination, construction site stormwater runoff control, post construction stormwater management and pollution prevention.
So far, the CLT has completed seven projects in the county that have brought over $40 million in grants from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to Cecil County.
“These are 10 year contracts with DNR where we don’t get paid until after the first five years to show the project is successful in removing the figures set by the state for any given project,” said Bill Kilby, CLT president.
The first project the CLT embarked on was the restoration of 8,200 linear feet of stream bed, which was completed in 2017.
“Our first project was successful and it is the only one past the five year mark,” said Kilby. “But each project, we promise to remove 36,000 pounds and by multiplying that by 10 years, that’s a big impact.”
Kilby said that the CLT is moving to assist local jurisdictions in Cecil County as they too have clean water and restoration requirements to meet.
“Not only does the county benefit, but we all benefit from clean water, especially the farmers,” said Kilby. “We are cleaning the waterways, providing jobs and meeting requirements – it is a win for everyone.”
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