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September 9, 2021

Jesse’s Gets the Dirt for Marylanders To See

Some of you might remember that a few years ago, our Riverkeeper, Jesse Iliff, did extensive research using the public information act to find out how well Anne Arundel County was actually enforcing critical area violations. See the report here. Since the information was not available to the public, he has been doing a violations summary every year during the annual State of our Rivers Report.

Jesse found out when he presented his audit at a few meetings that his peers at other environmental non-profits around the state also wanted to know where their county’s stood in terms of enforcement. He didn’t stop there. Jesse advocated for a bill to require the reporting of enforcement efforts by local jurisdictions in MD. Maryland Senators Sarah Elfreth and Stephen Lafferty sponsored that bill, which became a law last year.

Click here to see the report that resulted from Jesse’s determination to track the quality of enforcement of the critical area act for all of Maryland’s rivers. “What really struck me when doing the research was how much our county inspectors are stretched thin” Iliff said. “We need more enforcement resources if we are going to protect our local streams and rivers from sediment and erosion,” he continued.

In 2020 13,954 acres were disturbed in Maryland due to permitted work. There were 8,567 permits issued, of which, roughly half were major permits that included permits like grading, building, and sediment control, and half were minor disturbances or single residential lot agreements.

Across the state of MD,

84,321k inspections were performed

8,822 violations for either sediment or grading and were given out by 118 inspectors.

422 stop orders were issued

$151,209 in fines were collected

As always, we want to thank all of the people who act as our eyes and ears to protect our local waters. Some 1,528 complaints were received from the public. Anne Arundel County had the 2nd most inspections performed in the state (13,248) and found the most violations (1,229).