Reporting Jessica Kartalija
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A polluted Inner Harbor is becoming cleaner and safer, thanks to teams of volunteers.
Jessica Kartalija explains what’s being done to draw not only tourists, but also fish and crabs to the Inner Harbor.
Waterfront Partnership is working with Living Classrooms Foundation to make this happen.
Carroll Brewer has lived in Fells Point his entire life. He remembers when the water in the harbor was clean.
“We have lost our oysters so bad now, and crabs and other stuff. You don’t see nice big Chesapeake blue crabs. You see small ones but not big ones,” Brewer said.
Now there’s a renewed effort to change that.
“Over the last few days, working with kids from the Living Classrooms Foundation, we’ve been building the bases for the floating wetlands,” said Laurie Schwartz, Waterfront Partnership.
Two years ago, Waterfront Partnership—a nonprofit group of Inner Harbor businesses—put wetland floats made with recycled plastic into the water near Baltimore’s World Trade Center.
“These wetlands create a refuge for fish and other creatures in the harbor. We have lots of mussels, crabs in the harbor,” Schwartz said.
Now they’re continuing their efforts and adding 50 more.
The wetlands are not only for the fish and wildlife, they’re also for people, too. Waterfront Partnership says they’d like to see us be able to take a swim in the harbor by 2020.
But some aren’t so sure.
“You had Bethlehem Steel and then Allied Chemical polluted it for years. So it’s pretty toxic,” said one. “I’d be skeptical.”
But Waterfront Partnership is determined, saying it’s a city and state-wide effort that is working.
“Greening up the city, creating lots of ways to create green neighborhoods and cleaner neighborhoods and healthier streams and a healthier harbor,” Schwartz said.
As for those who know this area best…
“I think it’s a good idea. We need our wetlands,” Brewer said.
The original floats suffered severe damage during Hurricane Irene and had to be removed. The new floats will go in the same place.
The floating wetlands will be placed into the Inner Harbor on April 20.