Community Involvement

The Stormwater Management (SWM) Division is involved in a variety of community projects and outreach efforts that promote clean water strategies in the county. Some of these efforts are described below.


Landscaping with Rain Barrels and Rain Gardens

Gardening with storm water in mind will reduce rain runoff and keep pollutants from entering our streams and the Chesapeake Bay. Watch "Slow it Down, Spread it Out, Soak it in" to learn how you can use storm water in rain gardens, rain barrels and other environmental projects. As a Howard County resident, you can make a big impact on stormwater pollution by increasing the amount of pervious surface that absorbs stormwater runoff on your property. Check out this handy webpage of best management practices that you can do at your home.

The Bureau of Environmental Services and the Howard County Master Gardeners have partnered together to provide free rain barrel workshops to Howard County residents. Contact the Master Gardeners at 410-313-2707 for information. Workshops are held at the Alpha Ridge Landfill in Marriottsville, MD. See Upcoming Events for scheduling.


Watershed Enhancement Grant

Every year the Stormwater Management Division offers a Watershed Enhancement Grant to local non-profit 501(c)(3)organizations. The purpose of the grant is to encourage change in citizen and community behavior as they affect water quality in the Howard County's lakes, rivers and streams. 

This grant is intended to:

1. increase citizen awareness and participation in water quality issues and projects,
2. provide education opportunities for Howard County residents and/or
3. implement restoration projects.

If your organization is interested in getting more information about the grant, please call the Bureau of Environmental Services at 410-313-6444.

Below is a list of our grant recipients:

FY2010 Recipients

    Friends of Whipps Cemetery - A non-profit group dedicated to the preservation of Whipps Cemetery, an eco-conscious cemetery park located in Ellicott City, MD.

    Howard Community College - A community college located in Columbia, MD.

    Friends of Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway - A group dedicated to the preservation of the local Patapsco Park stream corridors.

    Howard County Conservancy - An organization dedicated to preserving the natural environment, agricultural farmland, and unique historical sites in Howard County.

    Columbia Association Watershed Advisory Committee - Is comprised of Columbia residents representing all of Columbia's villages, advising on watershed issues.

    Glenelg Country School - A private school, located in Howard County.


FY2011 Recipients

    Howard Conservancy - An organization dedicated to environmental education and preservation of landscapes.

    Friends of Patapsco Valley Greenway and Heritage, Inc.- A group dedicated to the preservation of the local Patapsco Park stream corridors.

    University of Maryland in partnership with the Master Gardeners - An organization dedicated to educating residents on native plants and sustainable landscaping.

    Columbia Association Watershed Advisory Committee - Is comprised of Columbia residents representing all of Columbia's villages, advising on watershed issues.

    Middle Patuxent Environmental Foundation - Maintains an irrevocable trust solely for the protection, preservation and maintenance of the Middle Patuxent River.


FY2012 Recipients

    Center for Watershed Protection - A non-profit group that works to protect, restore, and enhance our streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands and bays.

    Friends of Patapsco Valley Greenway and Heritage, Inc. - A group dedicated to the preservation of the local Patapsco Park stream corridors.

    Restoration Conservancy - A networking organization that engages the best technical experts from the community to meet project goals.


Greenfest

Howard County’s Annual GreenFest features many commercial and non-profit vendors with information about how to live a more ecologically sound lifestyle. Vendors and exhibitors bring information on green products, ecological home cleaning and lawn care, alternative energy, water conservation and reuse, and tips for greening your everyday activities plan to attend. Learn more about GreenFest.


Community Outreach Opportunities

Howard County encourages residents to care for their property in an environmentally friendly way. We encourage proper lawn fertilization and herbicide / pesticide application techniques, use of native plants for landscaping and replacement of lawn areas, and maintenance of stream buffers.

Enviroscape and Homescape are two educational tools used by the Howard County Storm Water Management staff to provide environmental education for adults. These tools are used to provide a bird's eye view of the impact that adult homeowner activities have on the environment.

If you are a community group, individual, or teaching institution that would like to start a water quality improvement project, or if you would like a speaker to talk on these topics at your next community meeting, please contact the Stormwater Management Division at (410) 313-6586.