Why ECO: Chesapeake Bay

Protecting a resource so it endures: The Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Centreville_Chesapeake1At 64,299 square miles, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed is the largest and most diverse of the 130 estuaries in the United States, encompassing much of Virginia and Maryland, as well as parts of West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, and the entire District of Columbia. It is home to over 3,600 species of plants and animals as well as more than 17 million residents. Threading through the Chesapeake Bay Watershed are more than 100,000 streams and rivers, all of which feed into the Chesapeake Bay. The U.S. Congress has deemed it "a national treasure and a resource of worldwide significance."

What are impervious surfaces?
Impervious surfaces are paved or hardened surfaces that do not allow water to pass through. Asphalt roads, rooftops, and parking lots are all impervious surfaces. As more land is covered by impervious surfaces, more polluted runoff enters our rivers, streams, and ultimately the Bay.

How are impervious surfaces a pressure on the Bay?
Impervious surfaces that replace natural, vegetated areas do not allow precipitation to soak into the soil. Instead, water runs off the hardened surfaces and into sewers, rivers, streams, and the Bay. As water runs across impervious surfaces, it picks up pollutants like nitrogen, phosphorus, and chemical contaminants that can harm aquatic life and our drinking water supply.
In the 1990′s, the amount of impervious surface - paved areas such as roads, driveways, and sidewalks - increased 41%...five times faster than the population in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed! By 2000, more than 860,000 acres of land (about 1,343 square miles) was covered in pavement.

Professional_Why ECO_ChesapeakeWhat does this mean for commercial developers?
In response to growing public sentiment for protecting the watershed from further decline, a number of municipalities in the region have undertaken such measures as charging commercial customers for stormwater build-up, while offering generous tax incentives for the installation of retention basins, green roofs and permeable pavers. Developers and property owners can expect to see this trend continue as increased governmental response leads to even more widespread environmental sustainability initiatives.

There are a variety of products and best management practices that can help designers, architects, developers, and contractors meet the challenges of protecting this important watershed. As concerns about water quality and stormwater management grow, townships, builders, and concerned citizens are turning to permeable interlocking concrete pavement systems for new and retrofit construction projects.

How do EP Henry ECO™ Pavers help?
EP Henry ECO Permeable Pavers:

  • allow rainwater to naturally filter and return to the ground, instead of collecting pollutants and debris while flowing into sewers, local streams and waterways
  • permit water absorption into the soil, which reduces run-off flooding and erosion
  • lessen the impact and stress on existing local storm sewer systems through reduced peak discharges
  • provide a reservoir or percolation field for surface water to re-enter ground aquifers
  • are winter-friendly…snow melt drains via paver joints, reducing slippery, icy surfaces and the need for harsh deicing chemicals

EP Henry not only works with clients throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, we call the region home too. As a regionally-based company, we're acutely aware of the need for sustainable, innovative solutions to counteract the environmental pressures that threaten our area's greatest natural resource.

With that in mind, EP Henry works closely with designers and construction professionals, helping them integrate our ECO products into their project plans to ensure the most environmentally, economically, and aesthetically sound results possible.