The vital connection between our stream health, our ability to create jobs and our children’s future has never been more important or more threatened than it is right now.
That’s why, as part of our goal to restore the health of the Bay by 2025, we’re launching the Governor’s Stream Restoration Challenge. The challenge is a competitive grant program open to local governments and non-profit organizations to establish 1,000 acres of stream-side forests by 2015. It will also create opportunities for middle and high school students to engage in service-learning and environmental literacy activities.
Forest buffers filter nutrients, sediment and other pollutants from entering the stream. They protect the stream banks from erosion, slow the flow of water during storms and provide a healthy habitat for its inhabitants.
But why are our streams so important? It’s simple. Our streams ultimately determine the health of the Bay. The 10,000 miles of streams that run through our communities can deliver either clean water or pollutants to the Bay. It starts with the streams and ends in the Bay. But we have a choice of how it ends.
There is a story about a child who asks her grandfather: “Grandfather, we’ve learned all about the importance of trees, how they can help the environment, clean the air, and filter storm water run-off. When’s the best time to plant a tree?” Her grandfather says, “Well, it takes time for those roots to go deep and for branches to spread,… and so the most important time plant a tree is 20 years ago.” And the little girl asks, “Well, when is the next best time to plant a tree?” The grandfather responds:“Right now.”
Let’s get to work right now and take the Governor’s Stream Restoration Challenge.
Martin O'Malley is the governor of Maryland. He writes a regular blog for his official website.