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First EC Safe and Sound Enhanced Stream Debris Removal Action Wrapping Up

First EC Safe and Sound Enhanced Stream Debris Removal Action Wrapping Up

March 7, 2019

Media Contacts:
Mark Miller, Administrator, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022
Shaina Hernandez, Senior Advisor to the County Executive, 410-313-4200

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced the first enhanced stream debris removal action is concluding under Phase One of his EC Safe and Sound Plan, which was implemented in December 2018. As part of his plan to ensure public safety, Ball ordered inspections and debris removal of nine streams any time the County has a rainfall of two inches or greater in a 24-hour period, or after an hour of sustained winds more than 30 mph. A wind storm on February 25 triggered this first action.

“This wind event caused a number of downed tree limbs and branches,” said Ball. “It’s important that we provide constant maintenance to keep these streams clear. Without this expedited, proactive clean-up policy, this debris could collect, cause choke points and stream blockages, and lead to more flooding in the future.”

Within three business days after the wind storm, crews from Howard EcoWorks (HEW) inspected 55 sites along the nine streams and identified debris for removal. HEW and county workers removed smaller debris from 26 locations, and Howard County Public Works crews will continue to work at the remaining sites through the end of this week. Under the county executive’s new policy, the County strives to remove all identified debris within 14 business days after the inspection.

Residents can follow the clean-up progress after each event on www.ECSafeandSound.org. An interactive map at https://bit.ly/2HgmwlD allows residents to see the quantity and types of debris removed, and view pictures from each of the 55 sites.

For this first event, inspections found 32 cubic yards of tree branches, logs and stumps that posed potential stream blockages. Inspectors also identified another six cubic yards of cinder blocks and metal that needed to be removed. Nearly half the debris for this first event had accumulated along three streams – the Plumtree, Tiber and Autumn Hills branches.

Since launching Phase One of the EC Safe and Sound, the County has hosted two public meetings to provide information and answer questions about the Flood Mitigation Assistance Program, which is a pilot grant program available to property owners in the Plum Tree, Little Plum Tree, Tiber-Hudson and New Cut watersheds for improvements to their structures only. A third public meeting was held to solicit community input for a new emergency public alert system.

Ball has also testified in both the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates to support legislation which would authorize the Maryland Department of the Environment to use the comprehensive flood management grant program to award grants to subdivisions that incurred infrastructure damage caused by a flood on or after January 1, 2009. The legislation is sponsored by Howard County Delegate Courtney Watson and Senator Katie Fry Hester.

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