When it Rains, it Pours

2014 has been a watershed year for stormwater efforts in Howard County. The Howard County Office of Environmental Sustainability has rolled out some innovative ways that you can help to protect our local water.

First there is the stream mAPPer, a free smart phone app that tracks the health of your neighborhood stream or river. The stream mAPPer helps you get to know your neighborhood stream’s behavior and helps us keep our eyes on the more than 750 miles of streams in Howard County.  We already have over 100 reports!

stream mapper in use

Find all of the mapped locations here and add your own.

If you would like to start mAPPing, download the app here. You can also email rbeebe@howardcountymd.gov for more information or to get one of our new tree tags

to help you mark exactly where you have used the mAPPer and help to spread the word to anybody passing by. Watch our training video

to learn more about the app!

We have also started a new, local storm drain stenciling program.

These stencils inform everyone   that everything flushed into a storm drain ends up in either the Patuxent and Patapsco River. So sign up to stencil a drain and remind your friends and neighbors  “only rain down the drain.”

We have already seen several great projects with the storm drain stencils:

  • Howard Community College students have stenciled all of the storm drains on their campus
  • The Howard County Watershed Stewards Academy has stenciled 55 storm drains in the River Hill community and is preparing to do more
  • Howard Community College students have completed the awareness video for the program below:
  • The Girl Scouts of Central Maryland created the stencil how-to video below:

Finally, the CleanScapes residential credit and reimbursement program has experienced a lot of interest this year. This program financially rewards residents for installing runoff and pollution-limiting landscaping, like rain gardens and rain barrels, paying up to half of the cost of the project. To date, the program has helped to treat pavement equivalent to 4 average residential lots!

See our residential page if you would like project photos and find out how you can get involved.

Thanks for helping us make this a great year for our local water, aquatic animals and plants, and the whole community. Keep up the good work!

Rachel Beebe