Wetlands and Waterways Permit Modification Hearing for MTA I-95 Section 200 NB Express Toll Lanes

Map from MTA.

Time to sharpen those pencils and write a comment letter, email or attend the virtual hearing and testify before the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) this Thursday, March 4th, 2021 at 6:30 PM on the Wetlands and Waterways permit application that would allow the Maryland Transportation Authority (MTA) to impact wetlands and waterways located within the Section 200 Northbound I 95 Express Toll lanes (ETL’s).

Located between White Marsh and Rt. 24. The project will allow MTA to construct the Section 200 Northbound I 95 Express Toll lanes (ETL’s) and replace both the Little Gunpowder and Gunpowder River bridges on I-95. Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER® and others oppose the MDE permit application because it states that some of the mitigation of stream channel impacts will occur off-site in Owings Mill, MD. This mitigation plan does nothing to address the actual, localized, project impacts on the waterways that will be directly impacted by the I-95 ETL’s. 

The Gunpowder Riverkeeper met with Maryland Transportation Authority in the Fall of 2020 regarding the environmental impacts of the 1.1 Billion dollar project and still has concerns about the impacts of the project on the environment including sensitive lands, plants and fish.

Please attend a Virtual Public Hearing for the MDE Application Number: 18-NT-0086/201860368 AI# 160464

The virtual public hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on March 4, 2021. In order to view or participate in the hearing, a participant must register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6486746282230258955 and directions will be electronically forwarded to the email provided. If internet service is not available, the participants may call 1-877-309-2074 and then enter access code 728-844-619 to hear the public hearing.

If you live near, swim in, crab, fish and/or boat in these waters and will not be testifying at the hearing, please write or email to the MDE by March 18th at the following address:

The Maryland Department of the Environment, Nontidal Wetlands Division, Emily Dolbin, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230, by email at Emily.Dolbin@maryland.gov ,or Telephone No. (667) 219-3279.

Please tell MDE: 

Your name, physical address, phone and email. State how long you have lived in the area and how long you have enjoyed these waters. State that you are concerned that the application before the MDE as written that will allow offsite mitigation of environmental impacts of the Section 200 Northbound I-95 Toll Lanes will harm you, your property, recreational and aesthetic interests and ask them to deny the permit for any/all of the following reasons: 

Ask the MDE for an extension to the comment period if you have not been able to review the materials to provide an informed comment.

State that the application does not provide enough factual information to allow concerned citizens and organizations to provide meaningful and robust participation in the public notice and comment process.

Demand that localized mitigation of the impacts occurs within the same subwatershed of the project to protect the on-site and downstream existing and designated uses of the Bird River, Little Gunpowder, Gunpowder River and Lower Winter’s Run, part of the Bush River watershed.

Ask MDE to require real-time monitoring of sediment and pollutants from the site to protect downstream water quality at all times.

Ask MDE to require that the stormwater discharges of the project comply with localized and the Bay TMDL pollution diets to protect downstream impaired waterways. 

State that mitigating stream channel impacts in an off-site mitigation bank fails to answer potential for localized, downstream impacts to habitat for American and Hickory Shad, Yellow Perch and Rockfish.

Associated materials can be accessed at:

https://mde.maryland.gov/programs/water/wetlandsandwaterways/pages/Mdta_I-95_Sect-200_improvements.aspx

The project is proposed within the Bird River (Use IV), Lower Gunpowder Falls (Use I), Little Gunpowder Falls (Use III) and Lower Winters Run (Use I-P) watersheds. The project is located on I-95 from MD 43 to MD 24 in Baltimore and Harford Counties, Maryland.

MDE Public Notice of Informational Hearing on the MTA I-95 Express Toll Lanes Northbound Extension, Application # 18-NT-0086/201860368 AI#160464