About

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.

stormwater greenfest
Community Outreach Meetings
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Sewells Orchard Pond Retrofit Project
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A Howard County construction project to improve the stormwater management pond in the vicinity of 6364 Tamar Drive in the Village of Long Reach will include the removal and replacement of the existing spillway to bring the pond into compliance with current Maryland Department of the Environment requirements. A public meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 26, 2022, at 7:00 PM at the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks headquarters at 7120 Oakland Mills Road in Columbia to discuss the project. The attached construction drawings are the original design plans and are for discussion only.

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EC Safe and Sound Pond H-4 Project
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A Community Outreach Meeting was held on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, to present plans for the construction of a flood mitigation facility (Pond H-4), that is part of the County’s Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan. Howard County Department of Public Works, Bureau of Environmental Services’ Stormwater Management Division, plans to construct the pond on County property located at 8960-9000 Frederick Road in Ellicott City. The objective of the new pond is to help mitigate flooding in Historic Ellicott City by capturing stormwater runoff from the upper parts of the Hudson Branch Watershed and then detaining the stormwater for longer periods to reduce the peak discharge for extreme rainfall events. Construction is expected to begin by August 2023.

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Scottswood Court Pond Repair Project
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A virtual Community Outreach Meeting was held on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, to discuss the Scottswood Court Pond Repair Project. The pond’s infrastructure is deteriorating and DPW’s Stormwater Management Division plans to replace the existing principal spillway and riser with a concrete principal spillway pipe and riser structure to repair the facility. Riprap will also be placed at the outfall to reduce erosive velocities.

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Ashbrook Drive Stream Rehabilitation Project
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A Community Outreach Meeting was held on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at the Miller Branch Library to discuss the Ashbrook Drive Stream Rehabilitation Project. The project will restore and stabilize approximately 700 linear feet of an existing stream bed owned by the County’s Department of Recreation & Parks and located behind the properties from 2713 Thornbrook Road to 2665 Thornbrook Road. The stream is a perennial headwater stream that drains into an unnamed tributary to the Patapsco River. Construction is expected to begin by Fall 2022.

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Cherrytree Farms 1/2 Pond Retrofit Project
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A Community Outreach Meeting was held in May 2019 to discuss the Cherrytree Farms 1/2 Pond Retrofit Project. The purpose of this project is to retrofit an existing stormwater management facility adjacent to 8411 Sand Cherry Lane, Laurel, and restore and stabilize a 300-linear foot section of stream that serves as the outfall channel to the pond. The pond will be retrofitted for safety and maintenance upgrades, and will also increase pollutant load reduction. The primary goal of the stream stabilization is to reduce erosion along the channel bed and banks, while creating ecological uplift and nutrient processing.

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Drainage Improvement Projects in the Valley Mede/Chatham Neighborhood
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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.

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Quaker Mill Flood Attenuation Project
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A Community Outreach Meeting was held on December 20, 2018, to discuss the Quaker Mill Flood Attenuation Project. The purpose of this project is to remove the existing pond along Rogers Avenue in Ellicott City and construct a larger flood attenuation facility. This project is part of the Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan for flood mitigation for Historic Ellicott City.

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Manors of Oakwood/Brampton Ponds and Autumn Harvest Stream Projects
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A Community Outreach Meeting was held on April 4, 2022, to discuss the Manors of Oakwood/Brampton Ponds and Autumn Harvest Stream Projects. The purpose of these projects is to retrofit one pond, remove an existing pond, and restore a stream. 

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Michaels Way Drainage Improvement Project
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A Community Outreach Meeting was held on April 15, 2021, to discuss the Michaels Way Drainage Improvement Project. The purpose of this project is to replace and upgrade the storm drain infrastructure along Michaels Way between Fawnwood Drive and Plumtree Branch, in the vicinity of Longview Drive, to improve stormwater conveyance and road safety during rain events. Construction is expected to begin by Fall 2022.

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Bonnie Branch Road Stream Restoration Project - Phase 2
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A Community Outreach Meeting was held on April 8, 2021, to discuss the Bonnie Branch Road Stream Restoration Project - Phase 2. The purpose of the project is to improve a stream in Howard County open space located west of Bonnie Branch Road and south of College Avenue by stabilizing approximately 675 linear feet of actively eroding stream banks along Bonnie Branch Road using bank grading and rock structures.

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Wharff Lane Gully Stabilization Project
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A Community Outreach Meeting was held on November 7, 2019, to discuss the Wharff Lane Gully Stabilization Project. The purpose of the project is to stabilize a severely eroded storm drain outfall channel along Wharff Lane. Construction is expected to begin by Fall 2022.

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.

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Enviroscape and Homescape
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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.

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Watershed Enhancement Grant
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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.

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. 

doo your duty

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 and sign the pledge to doo your duty!

Landscaping with Rain Barrels and Rain Gardens

Rain barrels are a great tool to reduce stormwater pollution and conserve treated tap water. The Bureau of Environmental Services and the Howard County Master Gardeners have partnered together to provide free rain barrel workshops and giveaways to Howard County residents. 

rain barrel

Gardening with storm water in mind will reduce rain runoff and keep pollutants from entering our streams and the Chesapeake Bay. Watch the video below 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. 

Leaves & Grass Clippings

Do not dump leaves, grass clippings or other landscaping waste into a storm drain inlet or a stream.

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.

raking leaves

GreenFest

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.

greenfest 2019 set building

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