Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman has announced the creation of the Anne Arundel County Citizens Environmental Commission. Pittman signed an executive order creating the commission, at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), in Edgewater, surrounded by tens of thousands of young trees planted as part of environmental mitigation efforts.

The commission will recommend actions to protect the county’s environmental resources, promote clean, renewable energy solutions, and defend its shorelines and communities from rising sea levels. It will be comprised of residents from each of the county’s watersheds, and representatives from environmental nonprofit organizations with offices in the county. The group will meet at least quarterly and prepare an annual report of its recommendations for Pittman.

Kate Fritz, executive director of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and former chair of the Sustainable Communities Team for the Pittman transition team, will chair the commission. Anne Arundel County Environmental Policy Director Matt Johnston will coordinate the commission’s work.

County Executive Pittman said the trees at SERC, which comprise a forest mitigation bank planted to help offset forest losses elsewhere in the county, represent the type of innovative solutions that are needed to protect our environment.