Maryland Fairgrounds Going Green

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Credit: Van Fisher/Patch

TOWSON - Now that the Maryland State Fair has wrapped up, tourists have left the well-worn paths, and the animals and livestock have returned to their farms—but this doesn’t mean all is quiet on the Fairgrounds.

A Maryland-based nonprofit is collaborating with the state Fairgrounds to install green infrastructure to make the land more environmentally friendly and protect the farm animals from flooding during future State Fairs.

“It’s exciting,” said Carol Wong, Senior Water Resources Engineer at the Center for Watershed Protection nonprofit. “There’s a lot of potential for this to be a nice demonstration space for green infrastructure projects.”

The Center for Watershed Protection is using a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to design a submerged gravel wetland in a 3.5-acre region of the Fairgrounds that often floods.

This type of infrastructure uses wetland plants and rocks to provide water quality treatment: Runoff drains into the submerged gravel wetland, and the plants, algae, and bacteria growing within the rocks remove pollutants.

This project will help prevent sediment from flowing into a nearby stream and reduce the Fairground’s maintenance needs.

“It will be a really great place during the Fair for families and kids to learn about stormwater,” Wong said.

The submerged gravel wetland will also lessen flooding near the animal tie-off at the Fairgrounds. In 2018, the flooding became so intense that the animals were in danger of drowning and had to be rescued.

The Fair is also hoping to install educational signage to help attendees learn more about the value of green infrastructure.

“During the State Fair, about half a million people attend, so we’ll be reaching a wider and different audience about green infrastructure than we usually do,” Wong said.

The project is anticipated to be completed by the beginning of 2023.

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