Spring 2008
Issue # 30

In this issue:

1. Staff News
2. This Just In
3. Project Updates
4. Feature Articles
5. FYI

 Runoff Rundown

Welcome to the 30th issue of Runoff Rundown, the Center for Watershed Protection's quarterly electronic newsletter!

The staff of the Ellicott City office recently took a long lunch to hike the local Trolley Trail to check out the wildflowers (and alas, some invasive species) and generally embrace and appreciate the new season.  We hope you all have similarly taken a break from your busy lives to do the same.  Things truly have been busy here, and there are many new projects to talk about as well some important new resources, so let's get to it!


Save the Date for the Stormwater Institute

Southeast Stormwater Institute
October 14-16, 2008
Coastal Georga Center
Savannah, GA

The Southeast Stormwater Institute is an intensive, interactive three-day learning experience specifically designed to help public and private sector stormwater professionals:

  • Develop or improve municipal stormwater programs, particularly NPDES Phase II permit programs;
  • Strengthen stormwater design, construction, and maintenance skills for innovative practices in coastal and non-coastal settings; and
  • Understand and apply volume reduction criteria, green infrastructure credits, and the new Georgia Coastal Stormwater Supplement.

Registration will be opening soon!


We are very excited to welcome back one of our long-time ('97-'04) employees, Deb Caraco, P.E.. Developer of the Watershed Treatment Model and many other tools and guidance docs, Deb returned in December as Senior Water Resources Engineer and is working from our new field office in Ithaca, NY.

This week also marks the arrival of Laurel Woodworth, who has joined David Hirschman in the Charlottesville, VA office as Stormwater & Watershed Planner.  A UVa graduate, Laurel has a good grasp of BMP construction and stormwater issues from working with the Albemarle County, VA stormwater inspection staff.  She also has a background in environmental education and volunteer monitoring gained during her time with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Dave and Laurel are moving this week into their new office, so be on the lookout for new contact information.

In Board-related news, Jon Kramer, Ph.D. has stepped up to replace Glenn Page as President of the Board of Directors.  Jon, Director of the Maryland Sea Grant College Program, has already demonstrated great leadership and commitment working closely with Hye Yeong and all of us on the Center’s strategic planning process.


Working with Tom Schueler of the Chesapeake Stormwater Network, we have recently completed a technical memo that outlines an innovative system for stormwater design called the Runoff Reduction Method.  This is part of our "Extreme BMP Makeover" project, funded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.  We have also been working closely with the VA Department of Conservation & Recreation to integrate the Runoff Reduction Method into proposed stormwater regulations and an updated handbook.  While the technical memo provides extensive background research on BMP performance, the focus is on BMP capacity to reduce overall runoff volume as well as pollutant removal.  These BMPs include both conventional and innovative practices (e.g., pervious parking, sheetflow to open space, green roofs, downspout disconnection).  The method also incorporates built-in incentives for environmental site design, such as preserving forests and reducing soil disturbance and impervious cover.  The memo includes a draft spreadsheet that can be used as a stormwater site planning tool to assess how well certain combinations of practices reduce post-development runoff volumes and total phosphorus loads.  VA DCR and the VA Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers are currently using this spreadsheet and the Runoff Reduction Method in site design charrettes around the state.  The spreadsheet will be revised based on feedback from these ambitious stakeholder involvement workshops.  A free download is available on the Center’s front page and by clicking here: http://www.cwp.org/Downloads/ExtremeBMP/RRTechMemo.pdf

This Almost In:
In the coming weeks, look for an email announcing the release of a Center report co-authored by Bob Pitt at the University of Alabama, "Monitoring to Demonstrate Environmental Results: Guidance to Develop Local Stormwater Monitoring Studies Using Six Example Study Designs."  This report seeks to answer many common questions-- What’s in my stormwater? How are different stormwater treatment practices performing? Do these stormwater practices really make a difference to improve my streams? The manual guides MS4 communities through developing monitoring studies, and then using the results to improve their local stormwater programs. Knowing the answers to the monitoring questions can lead to pollutant reduction out of the total community stormwater investment. Each of the six study designs is organized by a set of key questions that are designed to help develop a monitoring plan or scope of work for the monitoring study.

There is a light at the end of the Urban Subwatershed Restoration Manual Series tunnel...the final installment is Manual 9: Municipal Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping Practices. Communities operating a storm sewer system that fall under U.S. EPA’s NPDES Phase II regulations must meet specific "minimum control measures" to reduce the amount of pollution contained in urban stormwater runoff. This manual will explore one of these minimum control measures - the development of an effective municipal pollution prevention/good housekeeping program. Look for it in early June and be the first to know of its release by signing up for our email list. - http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1101639006674&p=oi


What We're Wrapping Up

Because of its location in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, suburban growth is quickly spreading to the largely rural Carroll County, MD. Currently home to approximately 150,000 people, population projections suggest an increase of about 35% over the next 10+ years. The County decided to be proactive in its approach to dealing with these strong development pressures, so with funding from Constellation Energy, the Chesapeake Bay Trust and Carroll County, the Center and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay conducted an eight-month local site planning roundtable that wrapped up on April 22nd. Carroll County representatives, local developers, environmental groups, and government agencies made up the roundtable that proposed revisions to the County's development codes in order to protect drinking water sources and improve stream quality. The final version of the document will be available online on the Center website in early summer.

Center Director Paul Sturm (R) leads one of the newly-formed workgroups during the kickoff meeting last fall.

Caroline County, MD is another region taking proactive measures to managing its projected growth. Located on the eastern shore, the County faces considerable growth pressure as the quest for affordable housing pushes further and further away from urban areas such as Annapolis and Baltimore. In March, the Center traveled to Caroline County to hold a workshop on Better Site Design (BSD).  Over 14 participants from Caroline County, Maryland Department of Planning, Maryland Department of the Environment, Caroline Soil Conservation District, Federalsburg and Denton, took part in the workshop. The workshop provided participants with background on the impacts of development on natural resources, an introduction to the BSD principles and the benefits of BSD in terms of both nutrient and cost reduction. We hope to continue this work with the County through codes and ordinances revisions.

The Center just completed a pilot watershed plan for Coral Bay in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This marks our first watershed plan to protect coral reefs and to help a territorial government move forward with island-wide watershed management. Funded by NOAA Coral Reef Program, we worked closely with staff from the USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the Coral Bay Community Council, EPA, and USDA. The plan will be available on the Center site this summer.

Coral Bay plan cover

In other warm weather climes, Dave Hirschman and Anne Kitchell returned (much to their credit) from Guam in February where they conducted a three-day workshop for local staff on watershed planning, stormwater management, and site design. Sponsored by the Guam Coastal Management Program, workshop participants discussed how to protect the freshwater aquifer which sits within a karst limestone plateau in the northern portion of the island.  Protecting this primary source of drinking water from contamination and overpumping will be challenging, particularly given the military base expansion which will bring 40-60,000 new residents to the island over the next five years.  While we certainly didn't solve their issues during our trip, we did manage to shut down a construction site, run a 5k, and make a new set of island friends. 

Field trip to evaluate erosion and sediment control at
construction site

Groups planning location of new development using legos

Lisa Fraley-McNeal, Kelly Collins, and Alexi Boado just returned Monday from the always-entertaining River Network’s River Rally.  The three presented "Navigating the World of BMP Performance," an intensive introductory session on BMP performance issues -- including stormwater runoff quality, BMP pollutant removal rates, and the latest trends in BMP performance.  They also covered the latest research on the performance of proprietary devices, innovative BMPs and Low Impact Development.  We look forward to hearing how the canoe trips and the Dutch Oven Cook-off went!

What We’re Working On

The Center has just submitted a technical memorandum that explores the development of a Downspout Disconnection Program in the City of Baltimore, MD.  The memo summarizes our latest research on downspout disconnection practices and programs and contains recommendations and information that the City can use to develop its own downspout disconnection program.  It also provides guidance to the City on identifying neighborhoods and downspouts that are candidates for disconnection and on encouraging property owners to participate in the program.  Later this year, the disconnection program will be tested as a pilot in a few neighborhoods and institutional sites in the Herring Run and Jones Falls Watersheds.

Thanks to the generous funding provided by The Home Depot Foundation, the Center has converted our Unified Site and Subwatershed Reconnaissance (USSR) field forms into a digital format that can be used on a handheld field tablet PC.  ESRI’s ArcPad software is used on the handheld PCs to bring existing Geographic Information System (GIS) data and the digital USSR forms into the field.  The information generated can be imported directly into a GIS. Center staff field tested these forms in the fall of 2007 in the Broadkill and St. Jones watersheds in Delaware.  Results of the tests were used to refine the product and address some inconsistencies in the original form design. The Center hopes that by adapting our protocols to be electronically available for GIS-integrated handheld technology and related software, we are able to provide watershed groups everywhere with another important tool in watershed planning.  We are currently working on a guidance memo that provides a simple how-to on using the field forms in their digital format and plan to post this memo and the digital field forms on our website in the coming months.

The Center is also currently drafting an inter-municipal watershed plan for the Bronx River watershed in New York, which will integrate individual activities occurring throughout Westchester and Bronx counties into a plan of action for the entire watershed.  The Bronx River Alliance will be producing and distributing the final plan later this year.

The Center is pleased to continue its work in the Accotink Creek Watershed (VA). As you may remember from last year, we completed a watershed plan addendum for the City of Fairfax ( VA) which serves as the headwaters of the mainstem of Accotink Creek. The creek continues to travel southeast through Fairfax County, which is where we are currently working. As a subcontractor to KCI Technologies, Inc. and working for Fairfax County (VA), our staff spent the first two weeks of April conducting field work using the guidance provided in Manuals 3 (Urban Stormwater Retrofit Practices) and 11 (Unified Subwatershed and Site Reconnaissance) for our field reconnaissance. We conducted neighborhood investigations to determine the possibility of downspout disconnection and other pollutant reduction opportunities. Hotspots, such as gas stations, municipal yards, and auto repair facilities were inspected using the Hotspot Site Investigation form.

Teams also identified areas for potential stormwater retrofits in large, untreated parking lots, along rights-of-way and increasing the effectiveness of existing stormwater treatment practices. The goal is to provide the County with 120 concept designs for structural retrofits and 20 concept designs of non-structural practices, which may include things like pet waste education, better lawn and landscaping practices. Data processing continues, and recommendations for watershed improvements and stormwater retrofits will be made in the next month or so, and by mid-summer, stakeholder meetings will begin. We will bring you the latest in future editions of Runoff Rundown.

Mitch Keiler of KCI sketching plans to improve this concrete stormwater outfall channel

Center engineer Kelly Collins and Philip Latasa, a volunteer for Friends of Accotink Creek, study the outlet of a sediment-filled dry pond.

The Center continues its partnership with the Spa Creek Conservancy through the development of a Green Business Program.  The Spa Creek Headwaters Watershed Management Plan identified the Chinquapin Industrial Park located in the headwaters of the creek as a major source of pollution. With funding from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Center will work with the Spa Creek Conservancy and businesses in the industrial park to educate the business’ on pollution problems and prevention opportunities.  This project is expected to be complete this fall. 

What We're Starting

The Center recently launched a new project to develop a Watershed Forestry Toolkit. The toolkit will build upon the Center’s existing guidance in the Urban Watershed Forestry manuals and will contain a variety of multi-media tools that can be used to increase tree cover in urban watersheds as well as to teach others how to increase tree cover and why it is important.  Funders and partners for toolkit development include the Home Depot Foundation and the USDA Forest Service. Look for the toolkit on the Center’s website this fall. 

The Center is teaming up with the Lake George Park Commission and the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District to develop Stream Corridor Management Regulations for the tributaries of New York’s Lake George.  Lake George is a 32-mile long, 190 foot deep, oligotrophic (low plant nutrients/high dissolved oxygen) lake located in New York State’s Adirondack Park.  The lake’s 230 square mile drainage area includes an estimated 132 tributaries.  Currently, there are no Stream Corridor Management regulations in place within the watershed.  Numerous stakeholders will be involved in developing these regulations, including the eleven municipalities within the Lake George Watershed, property owners, state agencies, and local watershed groups and citizens’ associations.

The Center is assisting the U.S. Geological Survey with their Effects of Urbanization on Stream Ecosystems project, which involves a series of technical articles summarizing the findings from recent research in three metropolitan areas of the U.S.: Boston, MA; Birmingham, AL; and Salt Lake City, UT. The role for Center staff is largely to translate these technical findings into practical implications for local land use planners, watershed managers, engineers, conservation groups, developers, and the general public.  As part of this project, Center Research Assistant Lisa Fraley-McNeal will attend a Symposium on Urbanization and Stream Ecology on May 23-24 in Salt Lake City, UT, where researchers from around the globe will discuss recent advances in the field of urban stream ecology.  Feedback from scientists and local practitioners during the meeting will help to identify and prioritize future research needs. http://www.rivercenter.uga.edu/research/urban/urban_meeting.htm


Retrofitting Public Lands in Charlottesville, Virginia

Most communities own or control about ten percent of land in their watersheds, such as parks, schools, roads and municipal buildings. These public lands are always attractive targets for stormwater retrofits and stewardship opportunities. The City of Charlottesville asked the Center to help them develop an effort to target these public lands for the purpose of improving the quality of the Rivanna River and the Chesapeake Bay. read more…


Letters from the Field: Puerto Rican Coffee Fields, Gilligan’s Island, Fried Plantains and one ¡Crazy River!

¡Hola! ¿Como estan?,

Paul (Sturm) and I have just finished 6 very intense days in Puerto Rico, "The Enchanted Island," liaising with staff from the PR Department of Natural Resources and many others. Paul hasn’t stopped eating fried, sweet plantains since we got here. He’s turned a slight shade of yellow. read more...


Where We're Speaking:

  • Michael Novotney and Kelly Collins are leading an all-day Stormwater Retrofit Workshop for the Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies' Annual Stormwater Summit. May 28, 2008, Lane Community College, Eugene, OR. It will include presentations from Mike and Kelly on the Urban Stormwater Retrofit Practices Manual and local speakers who will discuss construction costs and maintenance, and highlight successful local examples of stormwater retrofit programs. Organized by the Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies. Flyer: http://www.oracwa.org/files/news/376/ACWA-StormwaterSum-flyer-2008.pdf
  • Paul Sturm and Julie Tasillo on "Cooperative Watershed Planning- A Baltimore Experience" at the 19th Annual Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution Conference "Progress Through Partnerships: Collaborating to Protect Our Watersheds", May 19-21, 2008, Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa, Groton, CT. http://www.neiwpcc.org/npsconference/
  • Michael Novotney on "The Impacts of Impervious Cover (Development) on Aquatic Systems" at the Smart Solutions for Watershed Management Conference, June 5, 2008, Scott Conference Center, Omaha, NE. Sponsored by the City of Omaha and Douglas County, NE.
  • Karen Cappiella on "New Approaches to Greening Stormwater" at Sustainability 2008: Green Practices for the Water Environment June 22-25, 2008. Gaylord National on the Potomac, National Harbor, MD. Organized by the Water Environment Federation. http://www.wef.org/Sustainability/
  • Michael Novotney and Kelly Collins on "Leveling the Playing Field for LID" at the Low Impact Development Summit June 23-24, 2008, Asheville, NC.  The session will address recent efforts in DE, GA, and VA to develop a stormwater management approach and design criteria that encourage the use of Better Site Design and Low Impact Development practices in addition to traditional stormwater management practices. The Summit will address the planning, policy, and financing aspects of incorporating these principals in municipalities. http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/workshops/lid_summit/index.html
  • David Hirschman, Lisa Fraley-McNeal and Julie Tasillo will each be presenting sessions at the 7th Annual StormCon August 3-7 2008, Orlando World Center Marriott. Orlando, FL. http://www.stormcon.com/sc.html for complete agenda.
  • Neely Law, PhD at the 6th Annual National Water Quality Monitoring conference "Monitoring: Key to Understanding Our Waters," May 18-22, 2008. Atlantic City Convention Center, Sheraton Atlantic City, Atlantic City, NJ. http://www.wef.org/ConferencesTraining/Conferences
  • Lisa Fraley-McNeal (with Tom Schueler, CSN) on "Is impervious cover still important? A review of recent research" 2nd Symposium on Urbanization and Stream Ecology, May 23-24, 2008, Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, Salt Lake City, UT. http://www.rivercenter.uga.edu/research/urban/urban_meeting.htm.

If you are interested in a training workshop for your community or requesting a Center-led session at your conference, please contact Tiffany Wright, (410) 461-8323, tw @ cwp.org

The third year of the U.S. EPA Stormwater Webcast series for municipal stormwater managers has two webcasts where Center staff share our methods and experiences.

The archives of the 4/9/2008 webcast on "The Art & Science of Stormwater Retrofitting" by Michael Novotney and Deb Caraco, P.E. and the 2/6/2008 webcast on "BMP Performance" by Neely Law, PhD, can be viewed by visiting the U.S. EPA's NPDES Training Courses and Workshops page, which contains many other informative webcasts.

Other Resources:

REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS: Smart Growth Implementation Assistance The Development, Community, and Environment Division in U.S. EPA's Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation is soliciting applications from communities that want help with either policy analysis or public participatory processes.  Selected communities will receive assistance in the form of a multi-day visit from a team of experts organized by EPA and other national partners to work with local leaders.  Applications will be accepted until May 8, 2008.  For more information and application materials, please go to www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/sgia.htm.

REPORT: The University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center 2007 Annual Report is now available online.  Produced in partnership with the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET), this publication contains performance data on the ability of stormwater treatment systems to treat water quality and manage water quantity. http://ciceet.unh.edu/unh_stormwater_report_2007/index.php

WEBSITE: The CT LID Regulations Website The Connecticut NEMO Program has put together a web-based, searchable database that allows viewers to access Connecticut town and city ordinances that pertain specifically to low impact development and innovative stormwater management. http://clear.uconn.edu/tools/lid_reg

WEBSITE: The Water Environment Research Federation recently unveiled a new website, www.werf.org/livablecommunities, that gives landscape architects, designers, engineers, stormwater managers, elected officials and the public creative new ideas on sustainable stormwater practices. The site provides practical tools, frameworks for implementation and planning aids that can be adapted to your community or project.

REPORT: The National Estuarine Research Reserve’s (NERRS) System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) provides environmental data to support the assessment of coastal resource management challenges at the national, regional, and local levels. With funding from the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET), NERRS research teams applied SWMP data to priority coastal management issues in four regions: the Pacific Coast, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and the Northeast. Results from these studies enhanced the toolkit used to manage and analyze vast quantities of environmental data at reserves, provided necessary assessments of regional water quality and habitat trends, and clarified the impacts of natural processes and human activities on coastal ecosystems. The reports for these studies are now available online at http://ciceet.unh.edu/news/releases/swmp_report/swmp_report.html.


REQUEST FOR ABSTRACTS: Submission deadline May 12 AWRA 2008 Annual Water Resources Conference November 17-20, 2008. Sheraton Hotel, New Orleans, LA. Organized by the American Water Resources Association. http://www.awra.org/meetings/NewOrleans2008/index.html

CONFERENCE: World Environmental & Water Resources Congress 2008 May 12-16, 2008. Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu, HI. Organized by the Environmental & Water Resources Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers. http://content.asce.org/conferences/ewri2008/index.html

CONFERENCE: Monitoring: Key to Understanding Our Waters May 18-22, 2008. Atlantic City Convention Center and Sheraton Atlantic City, Atlantic City, NJ. Organized by the National Water Quality Monitoring Council. http://www.wef.org/Monitoring/

CONFERENCE: 19th Annual Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution Conference "Progress Through Partnerships: Collaborating to Protect Our Watersheds" May 19-21, 2008. Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa, Groton, CT.  Co-sponsored by New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission and Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection in cooperation with the NPS Programs of the New England States, New York State, and EPA Regions I and II.

WORKSHOP: Ephemeral Wetlands Construction Workshop June 10-12, 2008. Four Seasons Lodge, Richwood, WV.  Hosted by the Monongahela National Forest. Contact: Cathy Johnson, catherinejohnson@fs.fed.us

CONFERENCE: Low Impact Development Summit, June 23-24, 2008, Renaissance Hotel, Asheville, NC. Organized by NC State University Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, NCSU Water Quality Group, NC Cooperative Extension, and USDA CSREES Southern Regional Water Program. http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/workshops/lid_summit/index.html

CONFERENCE: 2008 AWRA Summer Specialty Conference: "Riparian Ecosystems and Buffers: Working at the Water's Edge" June 30-July 2, 2008. Founder's Inn and Spa, Virginia Beach, VA. Organized by the American Water Resources Association. http://www.awra.org/meetings/Virginia_Beach2008/

CONFERENCE: Southeast Regional Quality Growth Conference: Building Sustainable Communities for the 21st Century August 12-14, Doubletree Guest Suites, Charleston, SC. Organized by the Southeast Watershed Forum and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association http://www.sustainablecommunitiesconference.org.

CONFERENCE: SWCS Annual Conference 2008 July 26-30, 2008. Starr Pass Resort, Tuscon, AZ. Organized by the Soil and Water Conservation Society. http://www.swcs.org/en/conferences/2008_annual_conference/registration/

CONFERENCE: StormCon, the North American Surface Water Quality Conference & Exposition. August 3-7, 2008. Orlando World Center Marriott, Orlando, FL. Organized by StormCon.  http://www.stormcon.com/sc.html

WORKSHOPS: MN DNR - Stream Health & Restoration Workshops Fluvial Geomorphology and Stream Classification – July 14-18, 2008. Fergus Falls, MN. Stream Assessment and Monitoring – August 11-15, 2008. Whitewater State Park, MN. Organized by MN DNR Stream Habitat Program. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/streamhab/index.html

SEMINAR: TMDL Development and Implementation: Current Progress and Future Direction September 11, 2008. Sheraton Baltimore City Center, Baltimore, MD. Held in cooperation with the U.S. EPA. http://www.wef.org/ConferencesTraining/Seminars/TMDLDevelopment

WORKSHOP: National Nonpoint Source Monitoring Workshop September 14-18, 2008. Marriott Renaissance Hotel, Columbus, OH. Organized by Ohio State University’s Stream Restoration, Ecology, and Aquatic Management Solutions (STREAMS) program. http://streams.osu.edu/conf.php

CONFERENCE: Wetlands 2008: Wetlands and Global Climate Change September
16–18,2008. Doubletree Hotel, Portland, OR
. Organized by the Association of State Wetland Managers http://aswm.org/calendar/#symp

CONFERENCE: 4th National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration October 11-15, 2008. Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, RI. Organized by Restore America’s Estuaries.  http://www.estuaries.org/?id=138

CONFERENCE: Maryland/Delaware APA 2008 Conference “Growing Greener – Planning Healthy Communities for a Healthy Planet” November 19-21, 2008. Loews Annapolis Hotel, Annapolis, MD. Organized by the Delaware Chapter of the American Planning Association. http://www.delawareapa.org/2008%20MD-DE%20Conference.html


Runoff Rundown Team: Lauren Lasher, editor; Tiffany Wright, Anne Kitchell, Kathy Proebstle. Contributions from Center staff.

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