Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Maine DEP Awards City of Bangor Environmental Manager For Water Protection Leadership

-Wendy Warren is honored for her pollution prevention successes, and the collaborative way she engages stakeholders from the community toward achieving them-

BANGOR –The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is lauding the leadership of the City of Bangor’s environmental manager in safeguarding the region’s water resources.

The DEP has awarded Wendy Warren, Bangor’s environmental coordinator and an Eddington resident, its Steve Ranney Award for Stormwater Management Excellence.

The award, named after the late Auburn city engineer and stormwater manager, recognizes those who creatively and collaboratively work to reduce stormwater pollution and preserve Maine’s water quality. Management of stormwater is critical to the health of Maine’s water as polluted stormwater runoff from lawns, driveways, parking lots and roofs is the greatest source of pollution to the state’s waterways.

Warren is only the third recipient of the award since it was introduced by the state environmental agency in 2007; Brewer’s longtime Environmental Services Director Ken Locke was the first followed by South Portland’s Collection Systems Manager David Thomes.

DEP Municipal and Industrial Stormwater Coordinator David Ladd said Warren was selected not just for her effective environmental efforts, but the way in which she engages diverse stakeholders in the protection process.

Since joining the city in 2005, Warren has overseen the development of three watershed management plans and two stormwater utility studies, and has helped to haul in millions of state and federal grant dollars for on-the-ground projects in the Greater Bangor area.

She was instrumental in the development of a city-wide citizen review panel for stormwater issues and helped bring together a state-wide salt management task force that is looking into more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solutions for winter road and parking lot maintenance. Most recently, she has overseen the stormwater utility fee feasibility study and made proactive contact with numerous local entities to prepare them for this potential new cost currently under review by the Bangor City Council.

Warren is also the current chair of the Bangor Area Stormwater Group, a nonprofit comprised of seven local municipalities (Bangor, Brewer, Hampden, Milford, Old Town, Orono and Veazie) and five non-municipal members (University of Maine, University College at Bangor, Maine Air National Guard Bangor Base, Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center and Eastern Maine Community College) that has conducted storm sewer infrastructure mapping, developed non-stormwater discharge ordinances and post-construction discharge ordinances and secured a software program to meet record-keeping needs, all of which has saved the group and individual permittees hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years, Ladd said.

The collaborative also carries out education and outreach projects to raise awareness and increase local stormwater pollution prevention activities like community street and stream clean-up days and campaigns to reduce lawn care chemical use.

Her leadership activities both with the city and the regional stormwater group have generated mutually beneficial partnerships with organizations such as the Bangor Housing Authority, the Penobscot Job Corps Academy, Bangor Land Trust, the Maine Air National Guard, Eastern Maine Community College, area churches and schools, the Bangor Garden Show and many other organizations.

“I am honored to receive the Steve Ranney Award from Maine DEP, which not only reflects my efforts but those of the City of Bangor and the meaningful progress we have made in recent years,” Warren said. “My philosophy has always been that if we bring together the scientists, politicians, business community and environmentalists, we can find win-win solutions to the challenges we face. Bangor administration and staff have been completely supportive of this approach, allowing us to develop innovation solutions and accomplish some amazing things to better our environment and our communities.”

Since receiving the award, Warren announced she is stepping down from her post to return to her home state of Michigan. DEP environmental specialist Wynne Guglielmo has been hired as her replacement

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