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.


Community Outreach Meetings


A Community Outreach Meeting was held on October 24, 2019, at the Clarksville Middle School to discuss Capital Project D-1158 Windy Knolls Wetland Mitigation Bank and TMDL Stream Restoration Project. Click here for the presentation and exhibits.

A Community Outreach Meeting was held on October 1, 2019, at the Mayfield Woods Middle School to discuss the two ongoing capital projects: Woodcrest Drive Stormwater Pond Retrofit and Woodcrest Stream Rehabilitation Projects. To see the presentation, click here.

A Community Outreach Meeting was held on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at the Miller Branch Library to discuss the various ongoing drainage improvement projects in the Valley Mede/Chatham neighborhood north of RT 40. To see the presentation, click here.


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 Stormwater 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 410-313-6432.


Doo Your Duty


Protect Howard County parks, trails, AND waterways. Dog waste can contain multiple harmful pathogens and 1 gram can contain up to 23 million fecal bacteria. According to the EPA, pet waste is as toxic to the environment as an oil spill. Did you know? Howard County Law states owners are responsible for immediately removing pet defecation when off their own property. Violators may be issued civil citation penalties of $25-$500. Learn more with these informative fliers put together by the Patapsco Heritage Greenway for the Patapsco River Watershed, but the information and need to clean up after your pet applies countywide.

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


Landscaping with Rain Barrels and Rain Gardens

Due to COVID-19 and Governor Hogan’s Stay-at-Home order of March 30, the rain barrel workshops described in this section have been cancelled indefinitely. Thank you for understanding.


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. Download our 2020 Flier here. See our News & Upcoming Events webpage 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.

The Watershed Enhancement Grant is administered through the Chesapeake Bay Trust in partnership with Howard County. For more information about the grant go to or contact the Bureau of Environmental Services at 410-313-6444.


What to Do With All Those Leaves & Grass Clippings


Check out the many great options below! What shouldn’t you do? Do not dump leaves, grass clippings or other landscaping waste into a storm drain inlet or a stream. Why? This is bad for water quality and is considered an illicit discharge and a violation of County Code. Discarding landscape waste into a storm drain inlet can clog pipes and lead to flooding (even in your own yard). The decaying process of yard trim can also lead to depleted oxygen levels in our stream and water bodies.

What are my options for leaves/grass clippings?

    • Grasscycle/Mulch leaves and let them lie
    • Compost in your backyard
    • Participate in a Rake and Take Program
    • Utilize curbside yard trim collection
    • Drop-off at the Alpha Ridge Landfill WoodWaste Area

For more details about these options, Visit our yard trim webpage or call 410-313-6444.