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Group Wants To Make Inner Harbor Safe For Swimming & Fishing

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s an ambitious goal: make the Inner Harbor a place for swimming and fishing by 2020.  One Baltimore organization says it can be done. 

Gigi Barnett reports it’s invited a renowned water activist to Baltimore to prove it.

Between the location, view and history, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor attracts thousands of visitors every year.  But what if, instead of eating near the water, people could fish or swim in it.

According to Baltimore’s Waterfront Partnership, it could happen.

“It could be done.  If there’s a will, it can be done,” said Laurie Schwartz.

Schwartz runs the non-profit organization.  Last year, the group launched a plan to clean up the harbor and make it healthy for swimming and fishing by 2020.  But the group wanted examples from around the world of how to do it.  It planned a weekend conference to find them.

“There isn’t a magic wand,” Schwartz said.

The partnership also invited an expert to Baltimore this weekend who knows how to improve water quality first hand.  She’s Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of famed water researcher and activist Jacques Costeau.  She says Baltimore is on the right track.

“This is a great first step.  It just might take a little time,” Costeau said.

The group says it’s not just the trash in the harbor that must be removed.  Supporters want to get rid of all types of pollution, everything from harmful vehicle emissions to cigarette butts that collect near the water.

The Waterfront Partnership says the one thing that will stall the project is a lack of community support, so it’s asked local businesses, schools and even artists to help.

The Waterfront Partnership’s short-term goal is to clean the harbor enough for swimming by 2015.

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