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Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan
Howard County is currently seeking professional services to develop a master plan for Ellicott City and its watershed. The master plan process will help define a comprehensive community-driven vision for rebuilding a stronger and more resilient Ellicott City. The master plan will take a fresh and creative look at potential long term flood solutions and strategies. 

ECMasterplan Map

It will also incorporate a watershed plan in a way that many traditional master plans do not. Ellicott City’s unique topography, hydrology, road network, and mill town heritage will require a tailored, well-planned roadmap for long-term rebuilding.   A hydrologic and hydraulic study is currently underway for the Ellicott City watershed. The current study will test a range of possible options, including ones that could retool some development patterns in the watershed. The results of the hydrologic and hydraulic study will be used as a touchstone throughout the master plan process and help guide decisions, set planning parameters, and test choices.


County Flood Studies, Summer 2016 to Present

US Army Corp Study, Fall 2016 to Present

ECStrong rECovery Meetings, October-December 2016

Urban Land Institute (ULI) Ellicott City Technical Assistance Panel, January 2017

ULI Ellicott City Technical Assistance Panel Report, February 2017

DPZ selection of master plan Consultant/Team, February-March 2017

Consultant begins work, April 2017

Community Engagement

The County held four targeted community meetings between October and December 2016 for the purpose of achieving the following objectives: 1) to bring the community together and listen to concerns, 2) to learn about recovery efforts in other jurisdictions and 3) to obtain ideas on how to rebuild a stronger Ellicott City. The County hired a community engagement firm to assist with the recovery process, specifically to identify objectives, frame the issues, and design and facilitate the meetings. More information on these meetings can be found here.

Plan Background

On July 30, 2016, Ellicott City experienced devastating flooding when nearly six inches of rain fell in less than two hours. This flash flood claimed two lives, significantly damaged dozens of businesses and displaced many residents. While Ellicott City has experienced many flood events through its 250-year history, the destruction caused by the 2016 flood is the worst in recent memory.

Following the flood, the overarching goal was to return Ellicott City to normalcy as quickly and affordably as possible. During the recovery phase, Howard County effectively worked to stabilize Ellicott City and repaired and replaced damaged infrastructure; in some cases in a utilitarian fashion (i.e., asphalt was poured on damaged sidewalk areas instead of concrete or brick replacement). Merchants, business owners, residents, and many others worked tirelessly to clean up and rebuild. On November 26, these efforts culminated with an official grand reopening and ribbon cutting on Main Street. While Main Street is open, safe and functional, many rebuilding decisions have been postponed until long-term planning efforts are completed.

An engineering consultant has been hired to take a fresh look at the entire Ellicott City watershed with results expected by Spring 2017. Previous flood studies have evaluated options for flood control, but were limited geographically and by existing conditions.

Meeting Pictures1

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