ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ)—Often solving a big problem means tackling a lot of smaller ones first.

Alex DeMetrick reports that’s what’s underway right now upstream of the Chesapeake Bay.

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It’s been heavy lifting for state highway crews, even though there’s no road nearby. Instead, there’s old debris and the heavily eroded banks of the Little Patuxent River near Ellicott City.

Generations of urban run-off have turned the stream into an uncontrolled storm drain.

“When you have a large volume of water entering the bay, with it comes the sediment, the nitrogen, the phosphorous and all the things that cloud the water,” said Alison Prost, Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

So why is the State Highway Administration here? Trying to off-set some of the polluting run-off that flows from state roads.

What it can’t control here, it can help balance off on streams like the Patuxent, by restoring banks into natural filters.

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“When you lower the stream banks you allow the water to go out of the channel, you let it spread so there is less erosion on the banks,” said Sonal Sanghavi, SHA Office of Environmental Design.

It also supplied the governor and some school kids with a hands-on field trip, promoting a tax payer investment.

“We now have in place in Maryland the plans, commitments and the funding in place that allows us to restore these rivers and our river sheds,” Gov. Martin O’Malley.

That funding covers the $1.7 million cost of this restoration, and the $600 million dedicated to future projects aimed at one basic goal.

“It’s going to slow down the amount of pollution and decrease the amount of pollution reaching our streams,” Prost said.

That $600 million commitment will cover stream projects throughout Maryland over the next four years.

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