Baltimore County Launches Online Tool to Collect Data on Environmental Issues and Projects

The new online Environmental Reporter tool allows people to record rain barrels and tree plantings and report midge problems throughout Baltimore County. Image courtesy of the Baltimore County Government.

A new online tool will allow Baltimore County residents to participate in environmental data tracking by reporting environmental problem areas throughout the county as well as projects to alleviate some of these problems.

Baltimore County Director Johnny Olszewski Jr. on Tuesday announced the “Environmental Reporting” tool as a way to increase public engagement, facilitate access to county environmental data, and improve quality. life of community members.

“I’m committed to making Baltimore County more data-driven and accessible to residents, and this new crowdsourcing tool will help us partner directly with community members to be more specific and purposeful in the services we do. provide, “Olszewski said in a statement.

The tool will collect data on areas of the county that need to increase tree canopy, reduce stormwater runoff and control midge populations that are negatively affecting neighboring communities.

Midges are a type of small, non-biting fly that tend to swarm and breed near water and swampy areas. While relatively harmless, they can be a nuisance to homeowners, businesses and others who frequent local waterways, the statement said.

The Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability is investigating the problem of midges in riparian areas in eastern County.

Among these areas is the Back River, an estuary at the southeastern end of the county that flows into Chesapeake Bay.

The Environmental Reporter tool will provide the county with more specific data to locate large concentrations of midges – including how far they swarm inland and where on the water there might be hot spots – so that officials can find the best way to control the bugs, said Sean Naron, Olszewski’s press secretary.

When reporting a gnat problem, people should rate the level of nuisance from “not much” to “starting to annoy” to “intolerable”. They can also attach a picture, provide a comment, and mark the location of the midges on a map.

Naron said that one option to solve the gnat problem would be to target gnat “hot spots” and treat them with Bti, a naturally occurring soil bacteria that is not toxic to humans, mammals, animals. birds, fish and most invertebrates, but is toxic to the gnat. and mosquito larvae, according to the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA).

The tool will also collect data on reforestation and stormwater mitigation efforts by recording tree plantings and rain barrels.

When reporting a tree plantation, people can report the species and trunk diameter of the tree. For rain barrels, people can submit the barrel capacity in gallons.

As with reporting gnat issues, people can also attach a photo and tag the location of their tree planting or rain barrel. The person’s name and email address will be hidden from public view.

The county will integrate data related to rain barrel and tree planting locations into an existing tracking database where the county will document its environmental restoration work, Naron said.

The information will also help the county comply with EPA regulations regarding the amount of pollutant allowed in a body of water.

Marcus Dieterle
Latest articles by Marcus Dieterle (see everything)

Comments are closed.