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Center News

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Center Awarded Research Grant to Study Trees’ Stormwater Benefits

The Center was recently awarded a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to lead a research project that will quantify the stormwater treatment value of urban trees using a crediting framework that recognizes the differences among the urban forest types, working with partners University of Maryland, Virginia Tech and The Conservation Fund. This project builds on the Center’s extensive work on urban forestry and provides an opportunity to directly quantify the benefits that will help local governments evaluate the stormwater benefits of urban trees. Read more below.

Programs filling growing number of jobs created by stormwater rules

Read about how the Center helped 10 Baltimore City residents undergo a stormwater training program through Civic Works!


An ancient, buried flood plain worth over $1 million

Read about a special discovery by one of our employees in The Frederick News-Post.


2017 National Watershed and Stormwater Conference Wrap-up

On April 4th, the Center for Watershed Protection hosted the second National Watershed and Stormwater Conference. This unique conference united online participation via national webcast with in-person discussion at our local hubs in Baltimore, Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Omaha, Nebraska. We wanted to share a quick wrap-up and testimonials about this annual event!

Who was there

In total, more than 230 people attended came more than 25 states from California to Connecticut and even from Puerto Rico and Canada!

More than 165 registrants from federal, state and local government agencies, consulting firms, universities and non-profits came to participate and learn face to face. The conference also attracted 65 online attendees.

Laura Walker, from Savannah, Georgia attended online and said: “This is the second of the Center’s conferences that I’ve gone to and the topics were really, really good. It’s one of the better and more innovative workshops that I have attended.”

What we learned
According to one in-person attendee: “The material was interesting, and the speakers were all very well-qualified and organized.”

Major national topics included:

  • The State of Our Watersheds
  • Innovation in Practice – Integrated Water Resources Management and Implementation
  • Emerging Tools in Watershed Protection, Restoration, and Implementation

The local hubs also included presentations on local stormwater and watershed concerns. Some of these topics included:

  • The Future of Urban Watershed Management
  • Chesapeake Bay TMDL 2017 Midpoint Assessment: Building the Capacity for Success in the Phase III WIPs
  • A Pilot Assessment of Stream Temperature for an Impaired Waterway
  • Road Salts in the Baltimore Reservoir Systems
  • Scaling Up Green Infrastructure in Washington, DC
  • Agriculture’s Role in Maryland’s Nutrient Trading Program
  • Local Stormwater Funding Opportunities – A Panel Discussion
  • Green Infrastructure in New Jersey

How the conference was made possible

Support from 14 industry sponsors helped make the annual conference a great success. Thanks to:

Anderson, Davis & Associates; Chesapeake Bay Trust; Day Deadrick Marshall Insurance Agents; Ecotone; Environmental Quality Resources, LLC; Furbish; Red Chair; Resource Environmental Solutions, LLC; Straughan Environmental, Inc.; Stormwater Maintenance; Storm Water Systems, Inc; The Hatcher Group; Watershed Consulting Associates; Wetlands Studies & Solutions

Neely Law Appointed Director of Education and Training for Center for Watershed Protection

Neely Law, who joined the Center for Watershed Protection in 2004, has been promoted to Director of Education and Training, a newly created role for the Center.

In this role, Neely will manage and augment the development, coordination, delivery and evaluation of the Center’s stormwater and watershed training, including the annual conference, webcasts, workshops and other training programs. Neely will also work to improve professional development for Center staff to ensure their qualifications continue to meet current and emerging training needs.

Click here for the full announcement

Chesapeake Bay Program Approves New Urban Tree Canopy BMP

Tree planting is a popular activity in the Chesapeake Bay watershed done by many local jurisdictions, watershed organizations and other groups, as well as State and Federal governments. However the existing urban tree planting BMP did not account for the variety of tree planting efforts and their associated water quality benefits.

In 2015 an expert panel was formed to evaluate how sediment and nutrient removal credits are calculated for expanded urban tree canopy. Just last month the Chesapeake Bay Program accepted the recommendations and revised credit for the Urban Tree Canopy urban BMP. The newly adopted BMP credits include two BMPs: 1) Urban Tree Canopy Expansion and 2) Urban Forest Planting. The Center’s own Neely Law and  Jeremy Hanson from Virginia Tech facilitated the panel review and recommendations coordination.

A 2016 webcast from our friends at the Chesapeake Stormwater Network included the new information from the expert panel. To see the archive,  click here:

Center for Watershed Protection Awarded Platinum-Level Guidestar Exchange Participant

The Center for Watershed Protection was recently awarded a Platinum-level GuideStar Exchange participant, demonstrating its commitment to transparency. Hye Yeong Kwon, Executive Director notes, “We’ve always been an open, transparent organization and it’s good to finally be recognized through GuideStar.” We hope you will take a look at our information and consider us in your donations this year.

Click here to view the Center’s  GuideStar information.

Center for Watershed Protection Receives Funding from Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University

The grants are funded by the Delaware Watershed Research Fund, established with the support of the William Penn Foundation, to inform and advance on-the-ground conservation work including efforts currently underway as part of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative. JeanMarie Hartman, associate professor at Rutgers University, will lead a team from the Center for Watershed Protection and the Pinchot Institute for Conservation that will analyze municipal forest protection policies and determine which regulations are the most effective. Click here for the full press release!

Center Staff Published in Sustain-A Journal of Environmental and Sustainability Issues

The Center staff had four articles published in the Spring/Summer 2015 edition of Sustain-A Journal of Environmental and Sustainability Issues. The articles include:

Center Awarded an Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grant

The Chesapeake Bay Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently awarded the Center for Watershed Protection a $344,000 grant to develop a body of evidence and recommendations for the application of alternative media to boost the performance of existing Best Management Practices (BMPs). The project will provide a comprehensive approach to evaluate and implement emerging technologies to enhance BMP performance and make Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) strategies more cost-effective. The project will add to the existing limited data pool and optimistically support a higher pollution reduction credit for practices using enhanced media.

“We call it BMPs on steroids,” added Bryan Seipp, Watershed Manager/ Forester at the Center, and project architect. Bryan adds, “It allows us to do some innovative research to figure out how we can get the most of the various practices that are already being used.” The Center hopes to start on the project soon, elevating both the practices and the standards for the various BMPs that communities are using to meet their Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) and ultimately, their clean water goals. More information about the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants is available at

Clean Water Certification & Workforce Development

Stormwater runoff is one of the only growing sources of water pollution in the U.S. and the regulations to curtail it it have grown exponentially in the past few decades. There is enormous demand to install stormwater management practices to meet Clean Water Act requirements, but there is a lack of skilled workers who know how to construct, inspect and maintain them. The Center for Watershed Protection proposes to address these needs by designing a Clean Water Certification and Workforce Development Program to increase the skilled stormwater workforce. Click here to see the full article!

Center receives EPA funding to restore Proctor Creek Watershed in Atlanta

As part of the EPA award, The Center for Watershed Protection, Inc., will provide a replicable blueprint for pollutant load reduction crediting by developing a cost-effective approach to clean urban waters that integrates community-based water monitoring. A stakeholder group will be convened to vet the approach, which is expected to provide significant and quantifiable pollutant reduction to the Proctor Creek watershed in Atlanta. The project team includes the City of Atlanta, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, and Center for Watershed Protection, Inc. Read full press release here.

How to “credit” trees for runoff and pollutant load reduction

June 26, 2014

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the 2014 USDA Forest Service’s National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge grant recipients. The grants provide funding that will help enhance urban forest stewardship, support new employment opportunities, and help build resilience in the face of a changing climate.

Close to 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in urban areas and depends on the essential ecological, economic, and social benefits provided by urban trees and forests. Climate and extreme weather events pose threats to urban trees and forests requiring increased investment in management, restoration and stewardship. In the United States alone, urban trees store over 708 million tons of carbon and can help further reduce emissions by lowering electricity demand for summer air conditioning and winter heating. Well maintained urban forests can help address climate and extreme weather impacts through reducing runoff, buffering high winds, controlling erosion, and minimizing the impacts of drought. Urban forests also provide critical social and cultural benefits that may strengthen community resilience to climate change through promoting social interaction and community stability.

The Center was awarded in category 3: Utilizing Green Infrastructure to Manage and Mitigate Stormwater to Improve Water Quality. The project is called Making Urban Trees Count: A Project to Demonstrate the Role of Urban Trees in Achieving Regulatory Compliance for Clean Water Research. It will assist storm water managers with how to “credit” trees for runoff and pollutant load reduction in order to compare with other best management practices. A proposed design specification model for urban tree planting will address crediting, verification, cost-effectiveness, and tree health. For more information about the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, please Media contact: Karen Cappiella, Director of Research, Center for Watershed Protection 410-461-8323 /

Onancock parking lot soaks up rain for a cleaner creek

June 4, 2014

Construction was recently completed on what is considered to be the first permeable pavement parking lot on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The parking lot project at the corner of Parker and King streets in Onancock was designed and coordinated by the Center for Watershed Protection in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Town of Onancock. Permeable pavement allows rainwater and runoff to soak into the ground, slowing its flow and removing pollutants before it enters nearby waterways. Polluted runoff from streets, parking lots and buildings is one of the few growing sources of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has determined that parts of Onancock Creek are too polluted to support a healthy aquatic ecosystem. Since Onancock Creek empties into the Chesapeake Bay, the project is also designed to help clean up the Bay and was just one of many projects identified as part of the cleanup plan for the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The project involved demolition of the existing pavement and replacement with permeable pavers that direct runoff towards a vegetated area planted with native trees and grasses. A retrofit project such as this is “only possible with local partners,” stresses Joe Battiata, Senior Water Resources Engineer at the Center for Watershed Protection. “Our partners and funders were instrumental in making this a successful project.” Funding was provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Onancock Tree Board and the construction was completed by Eastern Shore Landscape Management, Inc.

Hye Yeong Kwon Graduates from Leadership Maryland—Class of 2013

Hye Yeong Kwon, Executive Director, Center for Watershed Protection, Inc., recently completed an eight-month long leadership development program presented by Leadership Maryland. Leadership Maryland, an independent, educational leadership development organization, informs top level executives from the public and private sectors about the critical issues, challenges and opportunities facing the State of Maryland, and its regions. After participating in a broad range of experiences, these statewide leaders are prepared to address these issues and serve as important participants in a unified effort to shape Maryland’s future. “These are the leaders to watch, now, and in the future,” said Leadership Maryland President and CEO Renée M. Winsky and 2005 graduate of the program. “Their experience confirms that the quality of leadership affects the success of the solutions. Problems are solved when committed, dynamic and informed leaders, with vision and passion, are willing to take the risk to lead.”

Chesapeake Bay Program approved new stream restoration protocols for estimating sediment and nutrient load reductions

By Lisa Fraley-McNeal, Center for Watershed Protection, Wednesday May 29, 2013

The new protocol recommendations for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Modeling Team for redefining removal rates for individual stream restoration projects were accepted by the Water Quality Goal Implementation Team – the final step in the review process of urban BMPs. The recommendations are the result of work done by the Center for Watershed Protection and the Chesapeake Stormwater Network to include a better method to estimate sediment and nutrient load reductions associated with stream restoration projects. The revisions imply a much greater credit reduction rate than is currently approved.

Localities can get credit toward meeting their TMDL objectives through stream restoration practices that: Prevent channel or bank erosion that would otherwise result in sediment being delivered downstream – prevented sediment approach, Include design features that promote denitrification during base flow – in-stream denitrification approach and/or, Reconnect stream channels to their floodplains for a wide range of storm events – floodplain reconnection Bill Stack, Deputy Director of Programs at the Center for Watershed Protection and a co-lead on the expert panel, emphasizes the importance of the panel’s work. “The expert panel review process provides a mechanism for reviewing existing credits and considering emerging practices, many of which can reduce costs for local governments. The new stream restoration crediting process allows municipalities to use local site data and will result in much greater estimates of sediment and nutrient reduction credits than before.” Read the full report Contact: Lisa Fraley-McNeal 410-461-8323×207

The Center for Watershed Protection advances in providing stormwater and watershed management resources with new website features and enhanced membership benefits

The Center for Watershed Protection advances in providing stormwater and watershed management resources with new website features and enhanced membership benefits Ellicott City, MD April 30, 2013 The Center for Watershed Protection is making it easier for thousands of practitioners to quickly identify their water resource challenge and find a variety of approaches and solutions that are practical and affordable – all in one place. The Center is launching a new website with expanded news, more frequent installments of the peer-reviewed Watershed Science Bulletin and a regular blog on hot topics in the industry. The improvements are especially helpful to The Center’s growing network of professionals focused on sustaining the nation’s water resources for the future. The launch of the new website coincides with the re-naming of the professional association from AWSPs to the Center for Watershed Protection Association (CWPA). Popular benefits like the webcast discounts, free trainings and the Online Watershed Library will continue and others added. To accommodate tight budgets, individual membership has been reduced by 10% for 2013. HyeYeong Kwon, Executive Director, explains, “The new name signifies a renewed commitment to our original reason for starting the association in 2010 – to provide valuable resources and build a broad network of professionals who can share their experiences. Unifying the names reinforces the value connection between the Center’s work over 20 years and membership in the organization. ” The Center for Watershed Protection, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to fostering responsible land and water management through applied research, direct assistance to communities, award-winning training, and access to a network of experienced professionals. As national experts in stormwater and watersheds since 1992, our strength lies in translating science into practice and policy, and providing leadership across disciplines and professions. Join the movement to protect and restore our streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands and bays. CONTACT INFORMATION: HyeYeong Kwon Executive Director 410-461-8323 x212

Rivanna watershed snapshot shows progress, room for improvement

By: Laura Ingles, C-Ville, December 21, 2012

The Rivanna River was recognized in 2000 as a “national treasure,” and local organizations want the waterway to maintain its value. The Rivanna River Basin Commission (RRBC)—a regional organization representing Charlottesville and Albemarle, Fluvanna, and Green counties, that recommends programs for enhancement of the river and its watershed—recently released the 2012 Rivanna Watershed Snapshot to bring attention to its current condition and encourage future preservation. The RRBC partnered with other organizations, like the Center for Watershed Protection and StreamWatch, to compile the 12-page document. Local waterway monitor StreamWatch collected the scientific data, and much of the project’s funding came from the RRBC’s startup fund from 2009. The snapshot puts the river’s current state in simple language alongside colorful photos for the public, and officials said they hope it will promote awareness and involvement. Read more…

Consultants to track sources of waterway contamination

Small Patapsco watershed project part of Chesapeake Bay cleanup, by Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun, November 29, 2012

On good days, the Tiber Hudson tributary of the Patapsco is a pleasant part of the scenery in Historic Ellicott City as it flows through a stone channel by Tonge Row, beneath Tiber Alley alongside Main Street and past the B&O Railroad Museum before it spills into the river. It’s a troubled waterway nonetheless, not considered able to support life, paved over in spots and surrounded by lots of asphalt. The urban and suburban surroundings that drain into the Tiber Hudson — its “watershed” — will be inspected early in December by teams of consultants and volunteers as part of a continuing private, county and state effort to improve the streams and rivers that ultimately flow into the Chesapeake Bay. Focusing on areas some distance from its channel, the crew of about 15 will spend four days driving around, looking for possible pollution sources and ways to better protect the Tiber Hudson. Technically, these two streams that converge in the historic district are the defining feature of a subwatershed, and not counted among Howard County’s nine major Patapsco watersheds and not part of the Patuxent River system, a more prevalent part of the county’s landscape. As a result, the Tiber Hudson can be overlooked, says Betsy McMillion, Stream Watch director and former executive director of Patapsco Heritage Greenway, a preservation group focused on the lower river valley. Read more… 


Catching Raindrops to Keep Waterways Healthy

By: Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service – MD, November 19, 2012

WASHINGTON – If the rain falls on you, you have to keep it. At least most of it. That’s the gist of the rules dealing with rainwater runoff in Washington, D.C. Program manager Greg Hoffman at the Center for Watershed Protection in Baltimore explains that storm water picks up pollutants and sediment as it moves to, and through, storm drains and sewers, and there are rules on the books that require control of that pollution. CWP just finished a guidebook to help project designers abide by the law in the simplest and most cost-effective way possible. Read more…

The Scoop on Poop: Pet waste a major polluter of urban waterways, studies show

By: Clara Vaughn, Capital News Service, Maryland Gazette, October, 28, 2012

When you fail to pick up after your pooch, you may be doing more than irking the next-door neighbors. Studies conducted over more than a decade in watersheds across the state have found that pets produce up to one-third of bacterial pollution in waterways near developed areas. That’s right. Dog poop is the source of startling amounts of E. coli, Giardia, salmonella and other microscopic pathogens in local waters. All three of the Anne Arundel County waterways permanently closed by bacterial pollution, Furnace Branch, Marley Creek and Rock Creek, have high concentrations of bacterial from pet and animal waste, although human waste has also been detected. Read more…

Wicomico River water sources examined in first comprehensive assessment

By: Jeremy Cox, Staff Writer, Delmarva Now, Oct 18, 2012

SALISBURY — Atop the two-lane, asphalt-covered bridge over Tony Tank Creek, Dan Savoy jots notes in a thick binder as Lori Lilly scans the horizon. To an untrained ear, their conversation may as well be about a home inspection. But instead of looking for dripping faucets or missing shingles, Savoy and Lilly are hunting for eroding shorelines and sources of pollution. “No one’s going to take out a dam to restore a fish passage,” says Lilly, gesturing toward the source of the sound of falling water beneath this part of Riverside Drive. “So this is not a restoration candidate likely.” Read more…

A 400 mile journey across Virginia

By Emily Darrell, The Goochland Gazette, June 06, 2012

Virginia, says 29-year-old Albemarle County resident Laurel Woodworth, doesn’t always get the stately respect that it deserves. “I sometimes feel it’s an underappreciated state,” Woodworth said. It’s true that Virginia has a lot going for it: mountains, beaches, rolling hills, cities, countryside. And plenty of history. Yet, Virginians aren’t generally known for the sort of fierce state pride that, say, Texans are. But since the age of 8 (she spent her earliest years in France), Woodworth has called no other place home. She grew up in the Shenandoah Valley, “went over the mountain to Charlottesville for college,” and has spent time in Richmond and on the Eastern Shore. Read more…

Maryland Superheroes Needed to Battle Illicit Discharges

By: Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service – MD, March 6, 2012

BALTIMORE – When Marylanders flush the toilet or pull a bathtub plug, it’s assumed the wastewater goes to a treatment facility. But that’s not always the case, as the Center for Watershed Protection discovered during its initial research into flows coming from stormwater pipes draining into local streams and creeks. Watershed ecologist Lori Lilly, a planner with the Center, says that whenever water is flowing out of those pipes on a dry day, it should be tested. “Our research has shown that 80 percent of the time there’s something in the water that shouldn’t be there, and it might be sanitary waste or it might be wash water.” Read more…

Healthy Harbor: Swimming and Fishing Dreams Can Come True

By: Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service – MD, December 14, 2011

BALTIMORE – Swimming and fishing in Baltimore Harbor – in less than 10 years? That’s the goal of the “Healthy Harbor” initiative from the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore. Details will be finalized at a public meeting today on how to clean up the water and waterways leading to the harbor. The goal is for the water to be safe for bathers and anglers by 2020. Bill Stack, deputy director of programs at the Center for Watershed Protection, helped work on the plan. Although the water is in better shape now than it was 10 years ago, he says, big challenges remain. Read more and listen to the interview…