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Baltimore Waterways Flunk Latest Report Card

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s Healthy Harbor initiative is in its fourth year, and many look forward to seeing improvements.

Pat Warren reports they may be in for a disappointment.

It’s report card day, “which is unfortunately to reveal a grade ‘F,'” said Halle Van der Gaag, Blue Water Baltimore.

Baltimore waterways are up the creek. Gwynns Falls, Jones Falls, Inner Harbor, Middle Branch, Mainstream Patapsco all received a grade ‘F.’

The Healthy Harbor initiative reports too many harmful salts and chemicals and too much wastewater, stormwater and urban runoff. In other words, there is plenty of room for improvement.

“Look, this is a baseline. And from here you demand progress,” said U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, (D) 3rd District.

Congressman Sarbanes, considered a champion of environmental initiatives, expects federal support for Healthy Harbor, but the key is for everybody to pitch in.

“Every single citizen who lives in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed has an impact on the quality of water. And they can make a difference,” said Sarbanes. “And citizen stewardship is really what’s going to tip the balance in favor of cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay over time.”

The goal is to make our waters fishable and swimmable by 2020.

While the Baltimore waterways received a failing grade, the overall health improved by about ten percent since 2012.

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