BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Year after year, the Inner Harbor fails to meet water quality standards.
Now, as Mike Schuh reports, the National Aquarium is demonstrating a way for nature to help with the cleanup.
To make Baltimore a workable city, the marshland was filled in around the harbor. Hard seawalls replaced miles of native plants. Water quality is abysmal.
But now, an ecological sponge is being built.
“We’re never going to create a living shoreline here. We’re never going to take the brick out or the promenade out and fill it with a tidal wetland,” said Charmaine Dahlenburg, National Aquarium.
So the aquarium is building a floating tidal wetland and filling it up with four native plants — 200 square feet of “Save the Bay.”
“We humans over-fertilize the Chesapeake Bay. So we’re doing very basic remediation here using natural processes, native plants, native animals to help clean up the harbor,” said Jack Cover, National Aquarium.
This is their third version of a wetland raft. This one will have roots growing through and under the raft and attract mussels, crabs and snakes.
“A lot of things are going to be moving into this. This is like launching a hotel for the wildlife in the Inner Harbor,” said Cover.
“It’s not going to filter the entire harbor, but it is going to provide a habitat for local wildlife,” said Dahlenburg.
At $8,000, there’s no upkeep costs. Once anchored in, nature does the work.
Now that this is launched, it will live next to the aquarium near the pier with the restaurants.
“This is an incredible, innovative way to clean up water,” said Cover.
The aquarium says any waterfront businesses interested in duplicating what they’re doing should contact them for a step by step on how to make their own floating wetland.