Blue Water Baltimore
Careful planning and a well-orchestrated process
The five founding or “legacy” organizations were the Baltimore Harbor Watershed Association, Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, Gywnns Falls Watershed Association, Herring Run Watershed Association, and Jones Falls Watershed Association. The groups had informally considered joining forces for several years, but it was the 2008 economic crisis and resulting fundraising challenges that jump-started serious merger discussions.
The resulting organization
Going forward with increased strength
The merger that brought about Blue Water Baltimore created an impressive new vehicle working on behalf of clean water in the Baltimore region and capably managing large restoration projects.
In 2017 alone, Blue Water Baltimore and other advocates spent many hours working toward a strong and transparent legal agreement between the City and the federal Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that sewer pipes are repaired and maintained over the next 13 years to significantly reduce the amount of pollution entering waterways. Blue Water Baltimore stopped a scrap-metal recycling facility from releasing toxic chemicals into the Patapsco River and discovered an oil spill in the Jones Falls. It brought a barren median on Route 40 back to life with hundreds of new trees and helped residents from Mondawmin and Oliver neighborhoods express themselves with photography to spur community conversations. It helped bring cherry trees back to Cherry Hill, removed tens of thousands of square feet of impervious surfaces, and engaged thousands of volunteers in Baltimore City and County to plant, clean, and advocate for cleaner water.
Blue Water Baltimore is only growing stronger, as needs and opportunities unfold. New EPA regulations require state and local governments to become more focused on water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, so Blue Water Baltimore has an unprecedented opportunity ahead to galvanize support, effect change, and influence regional policy – an opportunity that would not have been realized as fully if five separate organizations had not merged into one.