Stormwater Partners Network
 

Protecting and Restoring Our Streams and Watersheds

 
 

Vision

Montgomery County’s waterways are clean and pollution-free, providing healthy, safe, and thriving green spaces for wildlife, families, and communities.

Mission

We are a coalition that works throughout Montgomery County and at the state level with stakeholders responsible for environmental management to advocate for clean water, restore our watersheds, and connect communities to their backyard creeks and streams.

Our Members

Anacostia Watershed Citizens Advisory Committee

Anacostia Watershed Society

Anacostia Riverkeeper

Audubon Naturalist Society*

Cabin John Watershed Group

Canoe Cruisers Association

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church

Citizens to Save South Valley Park

Clean Water Action

Conservation Montgomery

Eyes of Paint Branch

Friends of Sligo Creek

Green Wheaton

Friends of Ten Mile Creek

Greater Goshen Civic Association

Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake

Little Falls Watershed Alliance

Maryland Native Plant Society

Maryland League of Conservation Voters

Montgomery Countryside Alliance

Montgomery County Civic Federation

Muddy Branch Alliance

Natural Resources Defense Council

Neighbors of Northwest Branch

Neighbors of Northwest Branch

Patuxent Riverkeeper

Potomac Conservancy*

Potomac Riverkeeper

Rock Creek Conservancy

Safe Grow Montgomery

Seneca Creek Watershed Partners

Sierra Club

Seven Oaks Evanswood Citizens Association

Trash Free Maryland

Watts Branch Watershed Alliance

West Montgomery County Citizens Association

 

“Every inch of pavement turns rain into pollution... forever.”

Eliza Cava  | Audubon Naturalist Society | Network Co-Chair

 
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Connecting Communities

Our member organizations and individuals are champions in their communities, reaching out to neighbors and showing them the beauty and importance of their local streams. They host outreach and education events, festivals, watershed works, workshops, demonstration projects, and more.


Watershed Restoration

Many of our member organizations operate hands-on to restore their watersheds. They install rain barrels and rain gardens, plant beautiful and water-retaining conservation landscapes, launch pet waste cleanup campaigns, clean their streams, and leverage their expertise to advise local landowners, HOAs, religious institutions, and more to do the same on their properties.


Policy & Advocacy

We work together as a coalition to analyze county, state, and local programs and policies that affect the health of our watersheds. We advise Councilmembers, Delegates, Executive staff, and agency staff on how best to connect with communities, prioritize watershed health, and use green solutions that provide multiple benefits to people and the environment.

The Issue

 

What’s a Watershed?

How Watersheds Work: Everything on the land ends up in the water. Graphic by Michigan Sea Grant.

How Watersheds Work: Everything on the land ends up in the water. Graphic by Michigan Sea Grant.

A watershed – the land area that drains to one stream, lake or river – affects the water quality in the water body that it surrounds. Like water bodies (e.g., lakes, rivers, and streams), individual watersheds share similarities but also differ in many ways. Every inch of the United States is part of a watershed – in other words, all land drains into a lake, river, stream or other water body and directly affects its quality. Because we all live on the land, we all live in a watershed — thus watershed condition is important to everyone.

Watersheds exist at different scales, like nesting dolls. For example, the Northwest Branch watershed is part of the Anacostia River watershed, which is part of the Potomac River watershed, which is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed!


The Problem

Polluted runoff drains off our streets and directly into streams.

Polluted runoff drains off our streets and directly into streams.

Polluted stormwater runoff “whooshes” off our paved areas (parking lots, streets, rooftops, and more), erodes our streams, and contaminates wildlife habitat and drinking water sources.

Polluted runoff brings bacteria, sediment, nutrients, trash, excess road salt, plastic particles, and toxins.

Two-thirds of our streams are unhealthy, in whole or in part.


The Solution

Rain gardens are an example of green infrastructure that filters polluted runoff and removes pollution before the water reaches streams.

Rain gardens are an example of green infrastructure that filters polluted runoff and removes pollution before the water reaches streams.

Through science, planning, engineering, and neighborhoods working together, we can stop stormwater pollution at its source. The best solution is to use green infrastructure throughout our watersheds.

Green infrastructure is a cost-effective, resilient approach to managing wet weather impacts that provides many community benefits. While single-purpose gray stormwater infrastructure—conventional piped drainage and water treatment systems—is designed to move urban stormwater away from the built environment, green infrastructure reduces and treats stormwater at its source while delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits.

When rain falls in natural, undeveloped areas, the water is absorbed and filtered by soil and plants. Stormwater runoff is cleaner and less of a problem.  Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, or other elements and practices to restore some of the natural processes required to manage water and create healthier urban environments.  At the city or county scale, green infrastructure is a patchwork of natural areas that provides habitat, flood protection, cleaner air, and cleaner water. At the neighborhood or site scale, these stormwater management systems mimic nature, infiltrate, evapotranspirate, and/or beneficially reuse water.

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History

The Stormwater Partners Network mobilized to Save Ten Mile Creek in 2014.

The Stormwater Partners Network mobilized to Save Ten Mile Creek in 2014.

The Stormwater Partners Network was founded in 2005 by a group of watershed advocates who came together to support Montgomery County to renew its commitment to local clean water protection.  The original set of roughly a dozen watershed, civic, and environmental groups saw an opportunity to partner with the County and the Maryland Department of the Environment to prepare a revised and expanded stormwater permit under the Clean Water Act.

Over time, the Network has grown its membership - now numbering 36 member organizations - and inspired the creation of new watershed groups in Montgomery County and indeed, all around the greater Washington, DC region. We continue to advocate for and support implementation of a strong stormwater permit, and we also push for sound land-use laws and policies that protect our watersheds, drinking water source protection, wastewater treatment and sewer line repair, and much more.

Our members led the successful Save Ten Mile Creek campaign and have fought for tree preservation, green infrastructure on county properties, and the pesticides on lawns bill. Other achievements include:  supporting private land rain gardens and tree plantings through the RainScapes Program, Montgomery Parks' stormwater program and funding, the County's Green Street regulations, and the strongest redevelopment stormwater requirements in Maryland.

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Contact Us

Network Co-Chairs

Caitlin Wall, Potomac Conservancy

Eliza Cava, Audubon Naturalist Society

cleanstreams@anshome.org