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We Have the Money; Do You Have the Time?
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by Richard Klein | 2008

The greater Baltimore area has at least 37 wetlands that support rare, threatened, or endangered species. We have obtained a grant, now we just need your help to make sure these species, as well as the wetlands that house them, do not become more endangered.

Throughout the greater Baltimore area there are at least 37 wetlands supporting rare, threatened, or endangered species. All 37 wetlands are in jeopardy to varying degrees. Fortunately, mechanisms are available for enhancing the protection afforded each wetland. The Greater Baltimore Group just received a grant from the national Sierra Club to launch a project to protect these wetlands. All we are missing are a few good volunteers to help us win this battle. Former Group chair Richard Klein is managing the project. If you are interested in lending a hand, we offer two options.

First, join us on Saturday, September 13, 10 a.m. at the park-and-ride lot at I-83 exit 36 (MD 439) for the endangered species hike. Second, attend the endangered species preservation gathering at Cockeysville library on Tuesday, September 16, 7 p.m. For further information, contact Richard at 410-654-3021 or

The Maryland Department of the Environment has designated the 37 areas Wetlands of Special State Concern (WSSC)–a designation that affords some additional protection beyond that applied to other wetlands. For example, a minimum 25-foot buffer must be maintained around most wetlands while a 100-foot buffer is required for WSSCs. But a 100-foot buffer is not sufficient to protect the highly-sensitive species inhabiting a WSSC. Most of the WSSC wetlands derive their water from a land area—the watershed—that extends far beyond the nearest 100 feet. Poorly planned commercial development and other land-use changes within the watershed could devastate the species inhabiting a WSSC even though the 100-foot buffer remained intact.

In addition to supporting rare, threatened, or endangered species, the 37 wetlands also provide other important ecological benefits. Of course, a number of other species thrive in each wetland ecosystem. The wetlands also maintain flows to downstream waters and retain a portion of the pollutants washed from surrounding lands. Finally, nearby residents derive considerable solace from knowing that they live in an area so clean that local wetlands can support highly-sensitive species.

Should you choose to volunteer a few hours of your time we would ask for your help with the following tasks.

  • Help us determine the vulnerability of each WSSC to watershed development or other threats.
  • Research options to preserve each WSSC watershed in a way that allows property owners to make reasonable use of their land.
  • Survey the watershed for activities that might pose a threat to rare, threatened, or endangered species then initiate action to resolve the threat.

This project has been designed so there’s a place for everyone with a few hours to contribute, regardless of skills or expertise. In exchange for your contribution of time you may well succeed in saving one of these unique ecosystems from an imminent threat while keeping hundreds of pounds of pollution out of the Chesapeake Bay.

Richard Klein ( is a member of the Greater Baltimore chapter and the founder and president of Community & Environmental Defense Services, Owings Mills, MD.

> 2008 Table of Contents


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