As a Howard County resident, you can make a big impact on reducing stormwater pollution by increasing the amount of surfaces on your property that absorb stormwater runoff. In addition to protecting the environment by reducing runoff, you'll also have the opportunity to reduce your Watershed Protection Fee and be reimbursed for your projects. Property owners demonstrating a hardship as defined here on page 11 are eligible for up to a 100% reimbursement for projects.

Check out the recording of our Information Session to get an in depth explanation of the CleanScapes Program, timeline, process and other information!

CleanScapes Info Session Recording

Program Details


  • Your home must have been built before 2003 to be eligible for this program
  • You must be a homeowner or a renter working with the homeowner

Reimbursements will not be granted for

  • Items not related to the project, or in excess of project needs
  • For items installed before the program start date of November of 2011
  • We cannot grant credit or reimbursement for structural BMPs installed at the time of development. These items are required by development regulations.
  • Projects installed without approval.

Quick Links:


Program Timeline

Site Visit Request Period Opens: April 1st

The Site Visit Request Form will remain open until all spots are reserved (75).

  1. You will need to identify some features on or near your site. Please use these instructions to assist you.
  2. Beginning in July we will review the requests, assign and set up visits with homeowners.

What if the Site Visit Request form is full? Reach out to the Watershed Stewards who can conduct a site visit and provide a report. If you have a visit and report by September 14th, please reach out to for next steps. 

Site Visits: August 1 – September 13

This includes conducting site visits (75) and providing recommendations to homeowners.

Project Proposals and Project Application: September 14 – November 30

This includes time for homeowners to reach out to contractors with the recommendations from their site visit. Projects must be installed by a licensed contractor. Project applications must be submitted by November 30th.

  1. You can find a list of contractors HERE.
  2. Contractors should provide homeowners with a project design and estimate, with key information for project application.
  3. Homeowners will submit a Project Application on the Clean Water Howard website including a Project Detail Sheet for each project they would like to have installed.​ Here are the specific requirements for each project BMP type.
    1. Rain Garden Project Detail Sheet
    2. Conservation Landscaping Project Detail Sheet
    3. Rainwater Harvesting Project Detail Sheet
    4. Permeable Pavers Project Detail Sheet
    5. Tree Canopy Expansion Project Detail Sheet
    6. Dry Well Project Detail Sheet
    7. Pavement Removal Project Detail Sheet
Project Review & Project Approvals – December 1 – February 20
  1. A Technical Review Committee (TRC) will review all applications and evaluate them for environmental benefits and available funding.
  2. At this time, the TRC may reach out to contractors for clarification on project elements and costs.
  3. All homeowners and contractors will be notified via email primarily, or written letter if email is not available, of project approval by 2/20.
Installations and Reimbursement Requests– February 20 – June 15
  1. Weather and project type dependent, homeowners may start coordinating with their project contractor on an installation date starting 2/20.
  2. Once a project is installed, the homeowner should submit a reimbursement request on the CWH website.
    1. This includes filling out and signing the Credit and Reimbursement Agreement.
 Inspections and Reimbursements - April 1 - June 30
  1. Post installation inspections will occur on a rolling basis starting 4/1.
  2. Reimbursements will be processed on a bi-weekly basis starting 4/15.


Contact us with any questions:

Maintaining Your CleanScapes Project
You have a rain garden, but how can you keep it gorgeous and functioning for years to come? Click here to find information about how to maintain your BMP as well as other sustainable landscaping practices!
What is the 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 residential property owners are charged the fee based on the size of their property. The fee is included on the real property tax bills which will are issued July 1 of each year and is only billed once per year.  Watershed Protection Fee credit applications must be submitted before April 1st for any credit to be considered for the current year tax bill.

For owners of residential properties, the annual watershed protection fee structure as of 2024 property bills 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 Assessments and Taxation's website here

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.