- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 1, 2005

Maryland department seeks to raise $180,000 in first year of project

CENTREVILLE, Md. — Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. wants you to drink one for the Chesapeake Bay.

The state is selling bottles of water taken from a Maryland aquifer to raise money for Chesapeake Bay restoration — one of Mr. Ehrlich’s two public-private agreements to clean the Bay.

The bottles will be recognizable by their bright blue labels, which were designed by Maryland artist Tom Freeman. They are scheduled to be in restaurants and stores by this weekend.

“It’s Maryland water, so by definition it’s better than any other water,” said Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican.

A spokeswoman for Brick House Farms Water Co., the Ellicott City bottler in partnership with the state, said the water comes from an aquifer (an underground layer of porous rock that stores water) running beneath Howard County.

Ninety-five percent of the proceeds from each bottle sold will go to support Bay restoration.

The state wants to raise $180,000 in the first year, then $400,000 annually, said Megan Evans, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

She said the distributor and retailers will set the price of the bottles.

The other agreement Mr. Ehrlich announced last week focuses on cleaning up the Corsica River, a 6-mile-long Chesapeake Bay tributary in Queen Anne’s County. The $19.4 million plan unites federal and state agencies with nonprofit groups and businesses.

Mr. Ehrlich did elaborate on the Corsica River project, which he called “a grand experiment” with lessons to be applied throughout the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.

However, he said the long-term goal is to remove the Corsica from the Environmental Protection Agency’s “impaired waters” list within five years.

The project will initially concentrate on reducing nutrient pollution and sediment runoff, and restoring Bay grasses and oyster beds. The emphasis will be on finding tangible ways to track the river’s progress.

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