New Case Studies on Conservation Design and Smart Growth

2018-02-05T13:38:09+00:00 February 2nd, 2018|

The case studies listed below describe and illustrate residential, commercial, and mixed-use developments that are notable for their innovative features, such as compact design enabling more land to be conserved for infiltration and recharge. They are similar to the 76 case studies included in the 2015 update of Rural by Design (subtitled Planning for Town and Country), which contains a long chapter on “low-impact development” approaches to manage stormwater more effectively. To paraphrase from the introduction to that book, “my goal has always been to provide the kind of resource that I wish had been available when I was a [...]

New Ways to Capture the Power of Urban Trees to Reduce Pollution

2018-01-16T09:45:45+00:00 January 17th, 2018|

Improved method for quantifying how trees limit runoff into local waters For Immediate Release Contact: Kristen Peterson, The Hatcher Group, 410-990-0284, ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (Jan. 17, 2018) – The Center for Watershed Protection announced today it has developed a ground-breaking new method to account for the capacity of trees planted in urban areas to reduce runoff pollution.  The Center has used that model to develop two tree planting credits — a pollutant load reduction credit and a stormwater performance-based credit. “Urban trees and forests improve water quality primarily by decreasing the amount of stormwater runoff and pollutants that reach [...]

Updated Planning Tool Helps Communities Evaluate Development Regulations

2018-01-04T11:29:01+00:00 January 4th, 2018|

Facilitates better site design to reduce pollution and costs For Immediate Release Contact: Kristen Peterson, The Hatcher Group, 410-990-0284, ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (Jan. 4, 2018) – The Center for Watershed Protection announced today that it has updated its widely used “Code and Ordinance Worksheet (COW),” a tool for evaluating development rules in communities. Originally created in 1998, the COW is a tool for municipal staff or non-governmental organizations whose communities are experiencing or anticipating new development or redevelopment in urban, suburban or rural areas and need help evaluating their local development regulations. “Our main goal is to help communities [...]

Making Urban Trees Count

2017-12-28T15:01:54+00:00 December 28th, 2017|

The use of trees as a stormwater best management practice (BMP) has been limited by the uncertainty of how to “credit” trees for runoff and pollutant reduction to meet water quality requirements. In 2014, the Center for Watershed Protection (the Center) began a study to address this gap by developing a science-based crediting system for urban tree planting. The project was funded through a grant from the U.S. Forest Service’s National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council. As a first step, the Center reviewed 159 publications to help answer the question “What is the effectiveness of urban tree planting for [...]

Can Urban BMPs Treat Toxics Too?

2017-12-21T12:59:47+00:00 December 21st, 2017|

In 2015, Tom Schueler and Anna Youngk of the Chesapeake Stormwater Network asked themselves:  To what degree can urban stormwater BMPs (e.g., bioretention, constructed wetlands, detention ponds) reduce toxic contamination of waterways?  In service to EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Toxic Contaminant Work Group, they undertook a massive literature review to try to answer the question.  Out of thousands of potential urban toxic contaminants, their literature review focused specifically on 12 categories (Table 1).  This list comes from an assessment of environmental risk in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (USEPA et al. 2012). Table 1: Priority urban toxic contaminants in the Chesapeake [...]

An Updated Code and Ordinance Worksheet for Improving Local Development Regulations

2017-12-19T13:55:51+00:00 December 19th, 2017|

Published in 1998, the Center for Watershed Protection’s Better Site Design Handbook outlines 22 model development principles for site design that act to reduce impervious cover, conserve open space, prevent stormwater pollution, and reduce the overall cost of development. The model development principles were created through a national Site Planning Roundtable, a consensus-based process initiated to create more environmentally sensitive, economically viable and locally appropriate development. The roundtable consisted of over 30 influential individuals from various organizations around the nation, including environmental groups, transportation officials, planners, realtors, homebuilders, land trusts, fire officials, county mangers and more. The Better Site Design [...]

Chesapeake Bay Program Urban Stream Restoration FAQs

2017-11-07T13:23:55+00:00 November 6th, 2017|

By Lisa Fraley-McNeal and Bill Stack Stream restoration is a billion-dollar industry across the nation and is expected to grow exponentially to address water quality needs. In the Chesapeake Bay watershed alone, approximately 700 miles of stream restoration projects are expected to be implemented to achieve the nutrient and sediment load reductions defined by the Chesapeake Bay TMDL (Schueler and Stack, 2014). The Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) convened an Urban Stream Restoration Expert Panel that was co-chaired by the Center for Watershed Protection and the Chesapeake Stormwater Network (CSN) to develop nutrient and sediment crediting protocols for stream restoration. The [...]

Helping the Nation’s Capital Reduce Sediment Pollution

2017-12-19T13:37:15+00:00 October 27th, 2017|

By Laura Gardner, Water Resources Engineer According to the Environmental Protection Agency, sediment is the most common pollutant found in America’s rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs. Soil erosion can create sediment, and when it becomes part of polluted runoff, it can have harmful effects on drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries, and wildlife. About 70 percent of soil erosion is caused by human land use, particularly construction activities. [] Fortunately, the District of Columbia is committed to finding solutions to the sediment problem. The District requires a Soil Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC) Plan as part of the permit process for [...]

Public-Private Partnerships for Stormwater: Are We Sacrificing Innovation and Quality for Lower Costs?

2017-10-19T11:20:28+00:00 October 19th, 2017|

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) have become a popular method in recent years for Maryland county governments to meet their stringent Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) goals brought about by the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).  In order to meet the WIP goals, MS4 permits for Maryland’s 10 Phase 1 counties require that each effectively restore 20% of their untreated impervious area (Maryland Department of the Environment, 2014).  Prince George’s County’s Clean Water Partnership was the first PPP program, with a stated initial goal of retrofitting over 2,000 impervious acres on public and private land over a three-year period (Clean Water [...]

Solutions to Polluted Runoff in Maryland’s Overlook and Epping Forest Neighborhoods

2017-09-26T14:57:47+00:00 September 26th, 2017|

The Center recently wrapped up work with two Maryland neighborhood associations to develop stormwater management plans for their communities.  With each project, the work entailed conducting a field assessment of stormwater retrofit opportunities; prioritizing the resulting projects based on cost-effectiveness, impervious area treated, property ownership and community interest; and developing conceptual designs for the top-ranked retrofits. Both projects were funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Overlook Neighborhood The Overlook neighborhood is a community of approximately 100 properties in Bethesda, Maryland. The Center worked with the Overlook Homeowners Association and the Little Falls Watershed Alliance to identify stormwater retrofit project opportunities [...]