Nonprofit Properties

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.

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 run 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.

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 waived for the owner.

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 percent equivalent to the imper­vi­ous square footage treated to current standards.

The deadline for completion of the Partnership Agreement is April 1 of each year to receive a 100% credit to the July 1 Fee of that same year.  Agreements accepted after April 1 will be applied to the following year's bill and not retroactively awarded to past bills.


Find out what grade the student scientists of the Watershed Report Card gave our local streams.