You can make a big impact on stormwater pollution by increasing the amount of stormwater runoff absorbed on your nonprofit property. Plus, you'll also reduce your Watershed Protection Fee.
Community Stormwater Partnership Grant Opportunity - CURRENTLY CLOSED FOR 2022
We are excited to announce a new grant opportunity to partner with HOAs and Nonprofits in Howard County to improve local water quality. Applications deadline: May 31, 2022.
- Confused because your HOA is a nonprofit? HOAs are eligible to apply for the Community Stormwater Partnership Grant above, as are other nonprofits, but HOAs are not eligible for the Nonprofit Watershed Protection Partnership (the "Partnership") described below because they do not receive a Watershed Protection Fee and the Partnership below provides a credit toward the Fee. Without a Fee, we cannot provide a credit to HOAs. The Partnership is entirely separate from the above grant opportunity.
- Your community needs stormwater assistance but you don't have an HOA? Try reaching out to a local nonprofit to work with you through this grant opportunity. Contact us if you need ideas.
- You're a Nonprofit Watershed Protection Partner and unsure how the grant relates to the Partnership? The grant is entirely separate from the Partnership, but is an opportunity to get stormwater treatment in the ground or provide funding for other efforts toward reaching your MEP (described below). Your Partnership documents and contacts will be reviewed and updated should you be awarded a grant.
- You're a nonprofit who is not in the Partnership and considering the grant? Feel free to apply but be aware you will be asked to join the Nonprofit Watershed Protection Partnership outlined below.
- You're not sure if your organization is in the Partnership? If you received an email directly from Lindsay announcing the grant, you are in the Partnership. If it was forwarded to you or you saw it online, then you are likely not yet a Partner. Still unsure? Just check "unsure" on the grant application and we will check as we review your application.
Watershed Protection Fee
The Watershed Protection Fee aims to improve the water quality of streams and rivers in your neighborhood and the Chesapeake Bay by funding projects that treat Howard County stormwater runoff. All property owners are charged a fee based on the size of their property or the amount of impervious area on their property that allows untreated stormwater to flow off.
All non-residential properties, including nonprofits, are charged at a rate of $15 per 500 square feet of impervious surface based on aerial photography. However, the Watershed Protection Fee legislation established a unique partnership program option for nonprofit properties that reduces the financial impact to the organization while also improving stormwater runoff controls on the property.
Nonprofit Watershed Protection Partnership
If a nonprofit organization agrees to enter into a partnership MOU with the County, allowing the County to assess on-site 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, and the property owner agrees to implement the identified practices, then 100 percent of the Watershed Protection Fee is credited for the owner. (NOTE: HOAs are not eligible to join this program as they do not receive a Watershed Fee and therefore cannot be awarded a credit.)
The process includes:
- Step 1: Complete a Partnership Agreement (after this point, a 100 percent credit to the fee is awarded for future billings contingent on implementation of the BMPs. The credit is not awarded retroactively to past payments. You only need to apply to the Partnership once, it automatically renews each year as long as you are complying with the Partnership Agreement.).
- Step 2: The County (or its consultant) conducts a site assessment.
- Step 3: The County and the nonprofit agree to on-site practices that will meet the maximum extent practicable (MEP), based on site assessment. (This is the last opportunity for a nonprofit to withdraw from the partnership. If they withdraw, the fee will resume at the next billing cycle.)
- Step 4: The County and the nonprofit sign a Scope of Work that outlines the implementation and maintenance of the practices to be installed.
- Step 5: The practices are installed on the nonprofit property (solidifying their partnership and the 100 percent credit to the fee).
- Step 6: The County verifies that the practices are functioning as intended while the nonprofit oversees maintenance. Every three years the nonprofit will submit documentation to the County, confiming the practices are still functioning as intended, with the option for a County site visit to confirm.
The County may work with nonprofit property owners to assist in the cost of implementing the identified stormwater management practices.
If a nonprofit organization does not agree to an MOU, or later opts out of the partnership, then the Watershed Protection Fee will be calculated at the non-residential/commercial rate described above. Should a nonprofit organization without an MOU install stormwater control practices, they can be credited at the percent equivalent to the impervious square footage treated to current standards under commercial property credit guidelines.
The deadline for completion of the Partnership Agreement is February 1 of each year to receive a 100% credit to the July 1 Fee of that same year. Agreements accepted after February 1 will be applied to the following year's bill and not retroactively awarded to past bills.