ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced the Ellicott City Safe and Sound’s stream debris removal program was triggered by the high winds experienced in the region last Friday and into the weekend. The enhanced stream debris removal program was one of the early initiatives announced under the Safe and Sound plan. This is the first debris removal triggered by a weather event this year and the 11th since the plan was implemented. The first debris removal under the Safe and Sound plan was triggered on February 26, 2019 with a total of four events in 2019 and six events in 2020. Nearly 29 tons of debris has been removed from stream channels in and around Ellicott City since the beginning of the program.
The strong, gusty winds at the end of last week caused thousands of power outages throughout the region. Many of those outages were caused by downed trees and tree limbs. We know it is likely those winds brought down limbs in the Tiber-Hudson watershed. The inspection this week and subsequent clean-up will prevent debris from collecting and causing stream blockages during future storms.
Under protocols established by Ball in December 2018, debris will be removed after any rain event of 2 inches or greater accumulation in a 24-hour period, or after an hour of sustained winds over 30mph. Previously, waterways were only inspected on a quarterly or semi-annual basis.
"We've mobilized our team in response to Friday's high winds that triggered a Safe and Sound event,” said Howard EcoWorks Executive Director Lori Lilly. “Our new UpLift crew is receiving training on our process and staff are conducting the inspections. We will coordinate with the County's Department of Public Works to remove any debris that we find at the inspection points."
Within three business days of a qualifying wind or rain event, 56 locations on public properties and on Columbia Association property along nine Howard County streams are inspected. These sites have been chosen because they are locations that are known to experience or contribute to, localized flooding. Within fourteen business days of the inspection, the material that was identified for removal during the inspection will be removed by crews from Howard EcoWorks and the Department of Public Works.
To follow the progress of inspections and debris removal, please visit www.ecsafeandsound.org.