The rains come, sometimes gently, sometimes forcefully. Plants need the water, so we welcome the rain. But as it flows down our roofs and downspouts, across our driveways and cul de sacs and into the storm drains beneath our streets, it gains volume and momentum and picks up soil sediment and pollutants. Unless slowed by the grass and tree roots in our yards and gardens and parks, the force of the water can cause small rivulets to become larger channels, and the banks of the tributaries and the river start to erode. That sediment is carried to the Chesapeake Bay where it impacts water quality and aquatic habitats. And the loss of the soil produces a dramatic change in the ecological connections that once thrived in that yard or along the bank of that river.
One of the most serious environmental concerns for the health and preservation of the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area is the erosion that occurs around and downstream from the storm drain outfalls. (Just look at the photo at the top of this page)! It's a big problem, and the Howard County Government, who owns the MPEA, is responsible for monitoring the severity of the erosion and managing appropriate repairs. In the spring of 2013, current and former Board members of the Middle Patuxent Environmental Foundation conducted a survey of storm water outfalls in the MPEA. Their findings were summarized in a PowerPoint presentation, which may be downloaded from the link in this sentence. The photographs alone are worth viewing!
As a "good neighbor to the MPEA," you can SLOW THE FLOW! And some neighbors did just that.
In 2011-2012, there was an excellent example of a successful neighborhood project in the MPEA. Check it out.
Whether you live immediately adjacent to the MPEA or in some other part of the watershed of the Middle Patuxent River, there are some significant ways that YOU can manage storm water in small amounts on your property.
Howard County, the home of the MPEA, has also has an informative site called Live Green Howard. Click here to access their site about rain gardens and rain barrels. Also, scroll down to those topics from the menu above.