Howard County has a strong commitment to address stormwater runoff problems, yet there is a still great deal of work to be done; and it will take all of us working together to reach our water quality goals. This stormwater management challenge provides opportunities for some valuable partnerships between government, non-profits and the business community.
Watershed Protection Fee
In 2012, the State of Maryland passed a law requiring each County to develop a program to better manage stormwater and to create a fund to pay for those projects. In 2013, Howard County adopted legislation to create a dedicated Watershed Protection Fee — also referred to as the stormwater utility fund. This state-required fund is fundamental in the County’s efforts to manage this growing source of pollution to our streams and the Chesapeake Bay. The Watershed Protection Fee funds projects that treat stormwater runoff and improve the stormwater infrastructure in Howard County. These projects aim to improve the water quality of streams in your backyard, other local waterways, and the Chesapeake Bay. All property owners are charged a fee based on the size of their property (residential) or the amount of impervious area on their property (commercial & non-profits) that allows untreated stormwater to flow to the nearest stream.
What can I do to help protect our water resources?
Consider installing a rain garden or native landscaping to help absorb stormwater before it reaches a paved surface or storm drain.
Also opt for permeable pavement where possible to allow water to filter into the ground rather than run off of traditional paved surfaces.
The majority of land in Howard County is privately owned, so management practices at individual homes and businesses are critical to these efforts. The following links provide more information about local and regional water resources and ways for individuals and businesses to help improve and protect our water resources.
Howard EcoWorks (READY)
Since 2012 Howard EcoWorks (formerly the Chesapeake Bay Alliance's 'READY Program') has been installing small scale residential stormwater management practices including rain gardens, rain barrels, swales, and more. Over the years they have also taken on maintenance roles for County investments such as tree plantings, stream restorations, and larger stormwater facilities. Howard EcoWorks provides environmental skills training to youth and adults in Howard County through a number of initiatives and programs and is an important component of the County's stormwater outreach and education efforts.