Watershed Protection Fee

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, and agricultural) that allows untreated stormwater to run off to the nearest stream.

The Watershed Protection Fee will be included on the real property tax bills which will be issued July 1 of each year and is only billed once per year.  The Fee rates changed in 2024 per CR 57-2024. Watershed Protection Fee credit applications must be submitted before April 1st in order for any credit to be considered for the current year tax bill.

Pricing Fee Structure By Role


For owners of residential properties, the annual watershed protection fee structure is as follows:

  • $40 for own­ers of town­houses, mobile homes, apartments, and condominiums
  • $115 for own­ers of homes on lots of one-quarter acre or less
  • $225 for own­ers of homes on lots larger than one-quarter acre.

If you aren't sure about the exact size of your lot, check the State Department of Assesments and Taxation's website here

Learn more about our residential credit and reimbursement programs here.


For owners of non-residential/commercial properties with improvements, the annual watershed protection fee is $40 for every 500 square feet of impervious surface on the parcel. Enter the prop­erty address in this mapping tool to view the impervious area on a property determined via aerial photography. For the pur­pose of this fee, imper­vi­ous area is defined as rooftops, dri­ve­ways, park­ing areas, and pri­vate roads (including compact gravel areas).

Learn more about non-residential/commercial properties here.


Non-profit properties are billed the same as non-residential/commercial properties at $40 per 500 square feet of impervious, unless they join the Non-profit Watershed Protection Partnership. The Nonprofit Watershed Protection Partnership is designed to alleviate stormwater fees and increase watershed projects and awareness. Once you complete a partnership agreement with the County, the County can conduct site assessments to provide on-site stormwater treatment opportunities to the Maximum Extent Practicable (MEP), which may be less than 100 percent of the total site's stormwater treatment needs given space limitations. The property owner agrees to implement identified practices and then 100% of the Watershed Protection Fee is credited to the owner.

To learn more about the Partnership, click here.


Agriculturally assessed properties are properties that have agricultural use assessments, determined by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. These properties are charged $40 per 500 square feet of impervious surface area.  If you own an agriculturally assessed property, you can be part of the stormwater solution and reduce your Watershed Protection Fee to a flat rate of $155 if you have in place, or have an MOU agreeing to develop, one of the following:

If an agriculturally assessed property has one of the above water quality or forest management plans, the property will be billed the lesser of either the flat rate of $155 or based on the impervious surface at $40 per 500 square feet of impervious area on site.

Learn more about agriculturally assessed properties here.


Quick Links:

- View the impervious area being billed on your property. **This is based on 2020 impervious data**

- If you believe you were billed in error (note County law only allows adjustments for 3 specific reasons) please complete the Adjustment Request Form here.

- Reduce your property’s fee with a fee credit and help improve the quality of local waterways by adopting stormwater management practices. Learn more here.