ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Where land meets water, nature provides unique buffers; tidal wetlands that touch water and non-tidal wetlands that sit further back from shore, but also deal with water that comes from rain and storm runoff.

“Wetlands absorb the water and filter the water,” Lisa Feldt of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation said. “They’re like a sponge for any pollutants that come along for the ride with stormwater before it goes into the Chesapeake Bay.”

Steuart Pittman, the chief executive of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, announced two new policies aimed at protecting those wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay.

“In order to clean up the Bay, you have to address development,” Pittman said. “You have to think about what land you’re paving over and where we’re allowing nature to do its work.”

The county executive’s office said the policies are aimed at improving the site development process to better protect wetlands and other natural areas.

The State and County will now determine what is a wetland, not developers.

The State and County will map trees, grasses and shorelines of a building project before permits are issued.

For development that goes forward, conditions will be imposed.

“You’re going to lose a wetland, we want you to put up more trees,” Anne Arundel County Director of Environmental Policy Matt Johnston said. “You’re going to lose a wetland, we want you to put up a living shoreline. This is a common practice from other counties and we’re going to start instituting it here.”

Alex DeMetrick

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