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Using Science - Parks & People Foundation - Urban Waters

Watershed 263
The Watershed 263 Project revitalizes urban communities through greening and urban forestry projects that improve both water quality and quality of life. Watershed 263 is a 930-acre storm drain area in west and southwest Baltimore City that encompasses part of 11 urban neighborhoods. Surface water carrying trash and pollutants which collect on streets, alleys and vacant lots empties into the Baltimore Harbor after traveling through a 43-mile storm drain system that converges into one outfall pipe near the mouth of Gwynns Falls in the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River. Parks & People works with the Watershed 263 Community Stakeholder Council to develop strategies; sustain community involvement and stewardship in the project; review proposals; and monitor implementation using measurable indicators. The Watershed 263 Council acts as an essential community liaison, engaging and educating residents about innovative water quality improvement projects to ensure acceptance and community support for projects that change communities. Currently, Parks & People is designing and constructing 30 green infrastructure projects in Watershed 263 and 10 others throughout the city with support from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Chesapeake and Atlantic Bays Trust Fund.
Baltimore's Second Harbor
Baltimore is a "City of Two Harbors." Baltimore's "Second Harbor" or the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River was, and in some areas still is, an important location for industry along its shoreline and along the Gwynns Falls stream valley. The Baltimore's Second Harbor Project is a cooperative partnership among the USDA Forest Service, Wildlife Habitat Council, and Parks & People. The partnership brings together corporations, communities, and public agencies to demonstrate how land owners can improve water quality and the quality of life for communities draining to the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River and help to strengthen stewardship and community connections to the Chesapeake Bay and its restoration. Several stormwater restoration projects are underway.

Reducing Impervious Surfaces
Parks & People engages school communities to create a new vision of a green campus as part of the Baltimore City Green School Network. Over 20 acres of asphalt have been removed from schoolyards to make way for inviting green spaces that offer hands-on opportunities for lessons that tie classroom curriculum to greening such as habitat or edible gardens. Additionally, Parks & People employs City youth part-time after school and full-time six weeks during the summer to undertake small-scale landscaping projects at public housing properties in Baltimore City. These projects reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and elevate quality of life for public housing residents while providing green career training, workforce readiness experiences, and environmental education to the employed youth. Parks & People is a certified "Green Resource Center" by the Maryland Association of Outdoor and Environmental Education. They have helped several schools achieve the "Green School" certification.