Hosted by the Chesapeake Stormwater Network, the BUBBAs (Best Urban BMP in the Bay Awards) honor the innovation and success behind some of the Chesapeake Bay’s latest best management practices (BMPs). BMPs reduce the quantity or improve the quality of stormwater runoff in urban areas throughout the watershed. This ensures that runoff flowing into our local water bodies is as clean as possible and won’t harm the Bay. Back in January 2021, I wrote a blog introducing the BUBBAs more in-depth. Now that it’s May, the 2021 event is over, and we can provide some of the highlights!

David Wood of the Chesapeake Stormwater Network shared a little insight into how this year’s event went from his perspective. COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into a lot of aspects of our lives this past year, but the 2021 BUBBAs welcomed around the same number of applications as in 2019, pre-pandemic! 

“All applications were extremely strong this year, which made it all the more difficult to narrow down the field,” David shared.

With around 150 attendees, the virtual award ceremony chat box was buzzing with energetic and positive discussion. Several people reached out to David personally after the event hoping to learn more about the different projects and contest winners. Since the overall goal of the BUBBAs is to connect people from across the watershed and share success stories, this was really great to witness.

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, in partnership with the DC Department of Energy and the Environment, Bona Terra Landscaping, and DC resident Joey Abrams, took home second place in the Best Residential Project Category. Through the RiverSmart Homes program, Mr. Abrams elected to have 2 rain gardens, a BayScape, a rain barrel, and three trees installed in his yard to capture over 2,850 square feet of stormwater runoff from both his own roof and his neighbor’s concrete patio. He has been an advocate for the RiverSmart program among friends and neighbors ever since. The Alliance appreciates all of the hard work Joey put into this project, this is a great example of the beneficial impacts of the RiverSmart program thanks to his excellent land use and care.

Now it’s easy to look at this project and many of the other submissions as individual and separate efforts, but that’s not what the BUBBAs are about. Although there are winners, the community feel and genuine support of one another is what makes this event so special. It’s not competitive, it’s not snarky, it’s educational and inspirational. The category breakdown is meant to reflect the Chesapeake Bay watershed goals from a holistic viewpoint and show that each project really is working towards the same end goal. In addition to the environmental perspective, projects with exceptional diversity, equity, and inclusion practices were highlighted throughout all of the categories. Some of these include the Summit Green Terrace Neighborhood (second place in the Best Ultra Urban Project category) and the Mount Olivet Cemetary Green Infrastructure Retrofit (second place in the Best BMP Retrofit category), which both prioritized community-backed workshops and support meetings. 

The Alliance is proud to have been a part of the 2021 BUBBAs, and we are excited to see what the future holds! Thank you to David Wood from the Chesapeake Stormwater Network for sharing his insights and expertise.