If you own an agriculturally assessed parcel, you can reduce stormwater runoff and be a part of the solution by adopting a soil conservation and water quality plan or a woodland management plan. These, and other practices, can make a big impact on stormwater pollution by increasing the amount of pervious surface that absorbs stormwater runoff on your property. Plus, you'll also reduce your Watershed Protection Fee.
Agriculturally assessed properties are properties that have agricultural use assessments, determined by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. These properties are charged $15 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 $90 if you have in place, or have an MOU agreeing to develop, one of the following:
- Soil Conservation and Water Quality Plan (SCWQP) through the Howard Soil Conservation District
- Forest Conservation and Management Plan through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
These plans involve implementing best management practices (BMPs) and management strategies that manage runoff and minimize sediment erosion. This can help keep nutrients and sediment on your land, where they belong, and not in our local water bodies, where they can be harmful. Plans must be submitted by April 1 for consideration against the July Fee that year.
The Watershed Protection Fee aims to improve the water quality of streams in your backyard, 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. Agriculturally assessed properties are charged $15 per 500 square feet of impervious surface area.
If you believe you were incorrectly assessed, complete the watershed protection fee request for adjustment, for billing adjustment consideration.