Welcome to the Montgomery Parks’ Stormwater Pollution web page. Controlling stormwater pollution is key to ensuring a healthy environment for park patrons as well as for the fish and wildlife that live in our parks. Since Stream Valley Parks drain much of the county, what goes on inside and outside the parks directly impacts water quality and biological health of streams in your parks.
Stormwater runoff is water (rain or melted snow) which flows over land or impervious surfaces (such as paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops) and is unable to soak into the ground where it would be filtered naturally.
Stormwater pollution occurs when stormwater runoff flows over land or impervious surfaces. It accumulates debris (trash), chemicals (oil, fertilizers, etc.), sediment, pet waste and other contaminants that pollute our waterways and adversely affect water quality.
Often, these pollutants are not removed from the runoff before they are carried with the runoff into the nearest storm drain, where they are directly discharged into our ponds, streams, and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. (RIGHT: The Chesapeake Bay watershed stretches from Virginia to upstate New York. Illustration credit: kmusser at wikimedia.org)
Since public water sources in Montgomery County come from the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers, stormwater pollution makes water treatment more challenging. Additionally stormwater running over sun heated pavement can warm streams making them uninhabitable for cold water species such as trout.
Scoop the poop
Leaving pet waste on the ground allows it to wash into storm drains and into streams and ponds, increasing the amount of harmful fecal bacteria and nutrients (which promote too much algae growth) in our streams.
Please bag your pet waste and put it in the trash. It is a Park regulation* and it is the neighborly thing to do. *Park Rules and Regulations: Section 20
Dispose of your trash properly
Leaving trash on the ground allows it to be carried in runoff to our streams. Trash contributes to debris jams in our streams, resulting in streambank erosion and tree loss. In addition, wildlife can get tangled in trash or may confuse it for food.
Don’t dump anything in storm drains
Most storm drains flow directly into streams or stormwater ponds. All will eventually drain to the Chesapeake Bay.
Find out more
Visit the following websites to learn more about what you can do to prevent stormwater pollution around your home and yard.
The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) hosts the RainScapes program promotes and implements projects on residential, institutional, and commercial properties to reduce stormwater pollution.
A RainScaping Campaign that's an environmental partnership for stormwater runoff solutions with Anne Arundel County, MD - Poster (.PDF, 1.03 MB)
- Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
What can you do to help protect surface and ground waters from nonpoint source pollution?
- Constructing bioretention areas, rain gardens (right), and other structures to filter stormwater
- Reducing the amount of impervious areas to promote more infiltration of stormwater runoff
- Modifying existing park maintenance programs to reduce pesticide and fertilizer use
- Planting trees along streams to soak up and filter the water,
- Doing stream restoration projects which stabilize waterways and improve aquatic habitat and
- Reducing the amount of maintained parkland since natural areas soak up runoff more readily than turf grass
We also work with local volunteer groups to conduct trash cleanups, build rain gardens, and other projects on parkland to reduce pollutants running into our waterways. We do all these things under the guidance of the Maryland Department of Environment which regulates stormwater pollution.
NPDES Annual Reports
This report includes detailed information on the steps the Department of Parks is take to reduce stormwater pollution in our county.
- 2012-13 M-NCPPC Parks NPDES Annual Report (PDF, 1.8MB)
- 2011-12 M-NCPPC Parks NPDES Annual Report (PDF, 950KB)
- 2010-11 M-NCPPC Parks NPDES Annual Report (PDF, 1.6MB)
For more information on Stormwater Pollution in the Parks please contact:
Resource Analysis Unit
Park Planning and Stewardship Division
firstname.lastname@example.org | 301-962-1349
Date of last update: November 26, 2013