How does urban tree canopy planning support Clean Water Act compliance?

Baltimore City is in the process of conducting a series of public stakeholder meetings to support development of a Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) to achieve targets under its MS4 permit related to the Chesapeake Bay TMDL (pollution diet).

The Chesapeake Bay Program learned a long time ago that because of stormwater runoff, land cover has a significant impact on water quality.

The TreeBaltimore 40% tree canopy cover goal will help build a ‘bigger sponge’, by way of expanded tree canopy, to help manage stormwater through interception, infiltration, and evapotranspiration.


Two outputs of the Baltimore Urban Waters Partnership are also supporting the city’s WIP planning. The Green Pattern Book, a toolkit for associating greening typologies with vacant lots and implementing greening practices on them, will contribute to the city’s green infrastructure network. The on-line map of the Community Managed Open Space greening typology, developed and hosted by the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, will be expanded to included the Stormwater greening typology. This mapping tool will continue to expand to show existing and potential locations for all eight greening typologies, and will function as both a reporting tool and an opportunity identification tool.

Tree canopy planning and management at the site and the landscape scales, and integration of green infrastructure with engineered solutions are tools Baltimore is using to improve water quality.


To read more about the City’s WIP process and their integrated, stakeholder focused approach here.

The US Forest Service Northern Research Station provided financial and technical assistance for the development of the Baltimore Urban Tree Canopy assessment and goal, the Green Pattern Book, and the Community Managed Open Space mapping tool.

The Consulting Group at SavATree provides project coordination support to the US Forest Service Northern Research Station, lead agency in the Baltimore Urban Waters Partnership.