As part of the effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore City is required -- by federal mandate -- to restore 20 percent of the city’s impervious surface area within its five watersheds. Increasing adoption of green infrastructure practices (“greening”) in residential neighborhoods is essential to meeting the federal mandate, cleaning up Baltimore's streams, and improving the quality of life of its residents.
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) engages individual residents in neighborhoods throughout the country to adopt practices to control and treat water quality and volume in their own back yards. NWF, with Abell Foundation support, is working with residents of several adjacent blocks in McElderry Park -- a low-income, high-crime neighborhood in East Baltimore -- to implement an “alley-gating” project. Alley-gating, in which locked gates limit the alley’s entrances and exits to immediate residents, is a very simple greening and crime reduction measure that can successfully reduce burglaries, anti-social behavior and littering, and can provide a neighborhood with a green space where children are safe to play. In McElderry Park, NWF will work with residents to transform the alley into a community pollinator garden, turning what was once a dangerous, trash-filled alley into a shared green space that will reduce polluted run-off and flooding as well as crime.