Summer 2008
Issue # 31

Yes, the Runoff Rundown e-newsletter has a new look! The new colors and images are intended to look more like our all-new website launched last month.  Be sure to visit if you haven't already!
Registration is open for the Southeast Stormwater Institute!

Space is filling up fast, so visit our Southeast Stormwater Institute page, and register!

Join us in Savannah for three intensive exciting days designed for stormwater professionals to develop/ improve municipal stormwater programs, particularly NPDES Phase II permit programs; integrate volume reduction and green infrastructure credits into their stormwater toolbox; and strengthen stormwater design, construction, and maintenance skills for innovative practices in coastal and non-coastal settings.
Southeast Stormwater Institute
October 14-16, 2008
Coastal Georgia Center
Savannah, GA
Staff News

We've had field employees for a few years now, but we're excited to report that we have our first field office in Charlottesvile VA with two staff!  Dave Hirschman and new employee Laurel Woodworth moved into their "new" digs in May, a redeveloped textile factory with the ruins of the oldest factory building beside it. So, you'll see that Dave and Laurel are trying to get us to believe that the building they stand in front of is not the ruins, but their workspace. Nice try, guys! We at least promise four walls and a roof to field staff!

New contact info for the Center's Charlottesville office:
919 2nd Street, S.E.
Charlottesville, VA  22902
Dave:  (434) 293-6355
Laurel:  (434) 293-5793

And speaking of new "old" buildings, the Ellicott City office is currently looking for a larger office space, one that we can make more environmentally friendly.  If you know of a building that would be ideal for this purpose in the Howard County area, or if you have property anywhere that you might wish to donate to the Center for us to redeem towards the purchase of headquarters, contact our Executive Director Hye Yeong Kwon at

We'd also like to send well wishes to Bernadette DeBlander, who earlier this month, left us to return to New England after her short but hopefully enjoyable time as a Center engineer.
This Just In

Managing Stormwater CoverWe have been working with TetraTech, Inc. on a guidance manual for post-construction stormwater management.  "Managing Stormwater in Your Community: A Guide for Building an Effective Post-Construction Program" is now ready to download from the Center's website.  Local stormwater managers across the country are exploring innovative approaches to managing runoff, but are also facing an array of challenges, such as adopting a local ordinance, securing funding, and operating a maintenance program.  This guide provides practical tips, and also features a series of downloadable tools that are designed to be modified by local programs to assist with program implementation. 

The guide covers topics ranging from program planning, integrating stormwater with land use planning, developing locally-appropriate stormwater criteria, stormwater inspection and maintenance programs, and program evaluation and tracking.  The tools include a program self-assessment; model post-construction stormwater ordinance; plan review, inspection, and maintenance checklists; and more.  The guide and tools can be downloaded at: > Resources > Controlling Runoff & Discharges > Stormwater Management or by visiting
Do you know of any good watershed or stormwater university courses and programs? The Center will be conducting a short email survey to determine the specifics of existing watershed or stormwater-related curricula, such as materials used and interest in integrating additional watershed resources.  For our University Partnerships project, part of a U.S. EPA-funded Targeted Watershed Initiative Grant, we plan to integrate watershed-related instructional materials into accredited universities around the country. If you know of a relevant program, help us out! Please send an email to Neely Law ( providing contact and program information to include in our University database.
What We're Wrapping Up:

Attention monitoring fans! We're about to release Monitoring to Demonstrate Environmental Results: Guidance to Develop Local Stormwater Monitoring Studies Using 6 Example Study Designs, a joint effort with the University of Alabama. The manual presents the broad concepts and methods behind setting up special monitoring studies in support of the NPDES stormwater permitting program.

The monitoring study designs cover a range of monitoring areas depending on the sophistication of the monitoring program -- from characterizing the quality of stormwater to developing a paired watershed study that breaks down the larger issue of protecting water quality into manageable components that can be addressed on a priority basis. Each study design covers the essential elements of establishing a monitoring program to include scoping, budgeting, funding and staffing needs as well as equipment and sampling requirements. Special issues associated with each monitoring study design are also covered for those unforseen but inevitable problems. The manual will be released in just a few weeks and will be available as a free download from our website.
Manual 9The last installment in the Urban Subwatershed Manual Series -- Manual 9: Municipal Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping Practices is almost here. The manual provides "how to" guidance on developing comprehensive and effective municipal pollution prevention/good housekeeping programs, including information on investigating and improving individual municipal operations, such as park and landscape maintenance and hotspot facility management. We'll be releasing Version 1.0 of the manual in just a few weeks!.
After the manual is released, we will be looking to work with a few communities to further test, refine and expand our approach to municipal pollution prevention/good housekeeping and integrate those experiences, as case studies, into a revised Version 2.0 of the manual. If you, or a community or agency you know would be interested in funding or participating in this effort, please contact Mike Novotney at

We just completed a 2-year project funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust to assist Maryland communities to develop and implement community greening plans.  This two-part project involved a series of workshops with Maryland DNR and the USDA Forest Service to provide technical information to communities interested in advancing community greening objectives.  The workshop topics included: a watershed approach to community greening, making the most of urban reforestation projects, and making your community forest friendly.  The Center also provided technical assistance to communities receiving CBT Community Greening Grants - these are generally communities that have completed an urban tree canopy assessment and set a canopy goal.  As part of the technical assistance, the Center reviewed the City of Cumberland's municipal code and made recommendations for code changes to promote greater forest conservation and tree planting and remove potential barriers to healthy tree growth.  The Center assisted the City of Baltimore and the Herring Run Watershed Association with various aspects of developing systematic tree planting programs in the City, including a program for institutional tree planting and incentives for planting on private property.  The Center also assisted the Town of Hyattsville by evaluating the Hamilton Street Improvement project for stormwater management opportunities that also help to meet community greening goals and making recommendations about specific practices.   We are pleased to have been part of this partnership to help promote community greening and are excited that more and more communities throughout the Bay watershed, such as Annapolis and Frederick, MD; Leesburg and Fairfax County, VA; Washington, DC; and Columbia, PA, are adopting urban tree canopy goals.
As a follow-up to December fieldwork in the Broadkill and St. Jones watersheds (DE), we are currently wrapping up tech memos for each watershed summarizing our findings and recommendations.  We have found that the location of the St. Jones watershed within the state's capitol, the county seat, and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control headquarters offers a terrific opportunity to secure political and agency support for funding restoration activities.  In contrast, most of the land in the Broadkill is quite rural, with development planned northwest of Georgetown that will result in increased urbanization and impervious cover.  We reviewed regulatory and programmatic watershed tools for jurisdictions within each watershed.  This review will be incorporated into watershed characterization reports by Duffield Associates. These efforts are timed well with finalization of pollution control strategies by stakeholders within each watershed. Retrofits identified during our inventory have since been used to solicit 319 funds.
What We're Working On:
As part of the RainScapes project (Montgomery County, MD) introduced in our Winter 2008 edition, the Center and Biohabitats headed out into the field in late April to assess four study neighborhoods: Wheaton Woods, Chevy Chase, Stonybrook/Parkside/Garrett Park and Ken-Gar. Teams looked for potential retrofits in road rights-of-way, and assessed yards and driveways for on-site practices such as rain gardens and permeable pavement.
Teams characterized neighborhoods using variables such as slopes, soil types, house footprint, and lot size. A few excellent right-of-way (ROW) candidates emerged pretty quickly, including a Wheaton Woods road with 34-foot wide lanes in each direction for one way traffic and on-street parking. Traffic lanes are separated by a raised grassy median that is about 50 feet wide in some places! The extensive turf areas in Parkside offered many opportunities for on-site practices. Site characteristics limited many on-site practices in Garrett Park and Chevy Chase, but a handful of lots had existing LID practices, including permeable pavers, rain barrels, and two-track driveways. ROW retrofits may be more applicable in these neighborhoods. ROW retrofits may also be the way to go in Ken Gar given the smaller lot sizes and more compact type of development in this neighborhood.

As we move forward, the Center and Biohabitats will be working on modeling scenarios to determine the effectiveness of these practices and preparing and study design for paired watershed study. We'll bring you more information on the monitoring and modeling components of this project as they become available. Stay tuned!

Top photo: Jen Dowdell (Biohabitats) completes a field form for a potential retrofit in this Parkside right-of-way
Bottom photo: Pam Rowe (Project manager with Montgomery Co.) and Bernadette DeBlander peek through a fence to see if the Chevy Chase road runoff that flows down this chute can be treated
Working with the Spa Creek Conservancy in Annapolis, MD, the Center has just begun the first stage of outreach in the development of the Spa Creek Green Business Program.  The Chesapeake Bay Trust has provided funding to create a program through which businesses in the Spa Creek watershed can gain a Green Business certification for making their businesses more environmentally friendly.  This program will especially promote the implementation of stormwater management and pollution prevention practices.  The Center and the Spa Creek Conservancy have collaborated to identify and contact several target businesses to get feedback on our tentative plans for this program, which will be launched this fall.
Recognizing the unique physical challenges of coastal watershed management, the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET) is funding the Center, and our project partners NEMO and the Chesapeake Stormwater Network, to develop and promote effective tools for protecting and restoring coastal plain watersheds.  The geographic focus for the project is the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plain province which comprises nearly 250,000 square miles in portions of 15 states from New Jersey to Texas.  This month, the Center distributed a survey to over 100 coastal plain communities identified in consultation with state coastal zone managers to help identify gaps and case studies to guide the development of the tools. The Center will also identify, review and synthesize the latest research on the impact of impervious cover on coastal plain water quality and aquatic resources and launch a collaborative network of at least 30 coastal plain watershed/land use planning experts to develop, review, endorse and disseminate the improved coastal watershed tools. With this research and expert guidance, the team will develop, disseminate and pilot an improved Eight Tool Framework for coastal plain watersheds.
As part of our ongoing Extreme BMP Makeover project, the Center will be conducting an ambitious survey of 200 stormwater management facilities throughout Virginia's James River watershed this August.  Working with our partners - Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and the James River Association - and the staff of the municipalities to be surveyed, the team will move upstream starting at the Chesapeake Bay area to the urban portions of Albemarle County, near Charlottesville.  The goal is to visually assess the state of stormwater BMPs of various ages and types, looking for design features that appear to perform better or worse at buffering the effects of urban runoff on local streams.  We will be looking at biofilters, wet ponds, detention ponds, and many other types of BMPs that have been installed in Virginia during the past couple of decades. These facilities often lie hidden behind shopping centers, at the edge of parking lots, in the corner of subdivisions, so be on the lookout for a motley crew poking around the back of your neighborhood grocery store.
The Center continues its work with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Chatham County-Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission and the University of Georgia River Basin Center, to develop a Coastal Stormwater Supplement (CSS) to the Georgia Stormwater Management Manual. The Center's role has been to develop a stormwater management approach, complete with supporting guidance, that can be used to protect the sensitive aquatic resources of the coast from the negative impacts of land development. Notably, the stormwater management approach detailed in the CSS incorporates elements of the Runoff Reduction Method and encourages the use of green infrastructure practices, such as rainwater harvesting, downspout disconnection, green roofs and stormwater planters on development sites. The approach also includes built-in incentives for minimizing clearing and grading and the creation of new impervious cover on development sites. The Center is now finishing up a draft version of the CSS, and is expecting to present the document to a Stakeholder Group for review in early August.
What We're Starting:
Floatables. Gotta love 'em. We are excited to work with the City of Baltimore on trash source assessments and watershed planning in Harris Creek, part of the Baltimore Harbor subwatershed--a predominantly piped area facing significant trash problems. We intend to expand upon our Unified Site and Subwatershed Reconaissance methods and our Pollution Source Control Practices by developing field methods for the assessment of trash source areas.  The assessment methods developed will be written up and field tested for application in other areas of the City. We will develop and summarize strategies to reduce the flow of trash and other harmful pollutants to the Harris Creek interceptor and train local watershed groups and staff on the new assessment method.
We are also excited to start work with stormwater managers from Richland County, SC on a watershed plan for Crane Creek.  A relatively undeveloped area outside of Columbia, the watershed consists mainly of extensive forest cover, rural residential, and some industrial land uses draining to the Broad River.  Restoration and protection of Elizabeth Lake from sedimentation and nutrient loading in light of new development pressures are drivers of this effort.  We're hoping this just isn't an excuse by our SC based coworker Anne Kitchell to make the Maryland staff suffer stifling summer heat!
Projects In Action
Periodically, Runoff Rundown includes this special section to share news from groups about how our work may have been implemented or how they have helped leverage new funding or projects. Please be sure to share with us how the Center's partnership or resources have made a difference in your community! Email Lauren Lasher at!
Hats off to our friends to the north for applying our watershed assessment and planning methods! The Credit Valley Conservation Authority in Mississauga Canada has been extremely busy in the Sheridan and Cookesville Creek watersheds.  Biohabitats, Inc. has joined the team to draft a watershed characterization report and develop an overall restoration strategy for these urban tributaries draining to Lake Ontario.  We will keep you posted on what arguably may be one of the most comprehensive watershed planning endeavors using our protocols ever conducted.  On a different, but related note, Aquifor Beech, Inc. has adapted our neighborhood and hotspot assessment protocols for a larger basin-wide look at the Credit River watershed.
Recently, Runoff Rundown heard from a group in New England working on the Connecticut River.  We asked them to update us on what they've been up to using Center materials. So, Andrea Newman, a GIS Analyst at Tighe & Bond, offered up this report:

Field technicians from Tighe & Bond have been hiking through the woods and alonglogo transparent streams locating and inspecting outfalls in a number of communities in Massachusetts and Connecticut.  This is part of a larger effort to help regulated communities under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) develop storm water management plans and identify and eliminate illicit outfall discharges to streams and rivers. Locating outfalls can be a tricky endeavor. The field technicians have waded in water, canoed parts of the Connecticut and Westfield Rivers, encountered moose in the wilds of western Massachusetts, and hiked down steep slopes. Of course, always keeping safety in mind, chances are there will be some outfalls that are just too hazardous to reach!
Once an outfall is located, the technicians GPS its location, take a photo, and inspect outfalls using the Center's assessment methodology. They perform a physical inspection of the outfalls to determine whether there is a possible illicit discharge. Clues they look for include odor, sewerage, floatables, outfall damage, excessive vegetation, and color and record this information on a modified version of the Center's Outfall Reconnaissance Inventory form.
Back at the office, Geographic Information System (GIS) analysts enter the GPS points, photos, and outfall inspection data into a GIS database to help track and manage the data. Tighe & Bond has also mapped many of these communities' storm water and sewer systems. Outfalls having possible illicit discharges can be traced in this pipe network using GIS to help determine the cause of contamination. Towns are using the outfall information and GIS data to help develop illicit discharge and detection plans and meet NPDES regulations.

logo transparent Kudos to the Coral Bay Community Council for moving forward with implementation of the Coral Bay Watershed Plan (   CBCC has taken the lead on applying for over $1.3 million in federal grant dollars to pay for technical assistance, land acquisition, and other recommended actions.  They have already secured $300k as part of EPA CARE grant, and with the help of DPNR, NOAA, and other agency staff involved with watershed management activities, they have a good shot at success.  Good luck!  The NOAA Coral Program is currently advertising for a coral specialist that would be invovled in this type of work throughout the Carribean (see our job openings page).
Feature Article
Street sweeping and storm drain cleanout practices are among the oldest practices used by communities to provide cleaner and healthier communities, meet community demand for aesthetics and maintain public safety. With the advent of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, regulated Phase I and Phase II communities can use these practices to help meet their permit requirements. Just how well these practices can reduce pollutants, though, is uncertain, given current research findings. Find out how we and many partners worked to change that!
Where We're speaking:

7th Annual StormCon - the North American Surface Water Quality Conference & Exposition. August 3-7, 2008 at Orlando World Center Marriott, Orlando, FL. Three Center staff are presenting:

  • Dave Hirschman at the pre-conference workshop Tools for Effective Post-Construction Program Management
  • Lisa Fraley-McNeal (with Scott Crafton, VA DCR) on Development and Application of a Stormwater BMP Performance Database
  • Julie Tasillo on Downspout Disconnection in Baltimore City, MD.
Michael Novotney (with Nikos Singelis, U.S. EPA) at the 2008 Annual Indiana Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management conference. September 10-12. Brown County State Park, Nashville, IN. Mike and Nikos will serve as keynote speakers and will address various stormwater topics including the Center's post-construction guidance manual.

NEMO U6 - Annual Conference of the Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials, October 19-21 at Asilomar Conference Grounds in Monterey, CA.
Three Center staff are presenting:
  • Kelly Collins on Runoff Revisited (with Chet Arnold, CT NEMO)
  • Karen Cappiella on Forests and Watersheds

Julie Tasillo on "Land Use as the first BMP" at the 2008 APA Regional Planning 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.

ONLINE TRAINING MATERIALS: "Developing a Sustainable Finance Plan"
Latest online training from the U.S. EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds' Watershed Academy is designed to help nonprofit watershed organizations develop and implement sustainable funding plans.

WEBSITE: Using grant funds from the U.S. EPA, The Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (UCR) worked with other Riverkeeper programs in Georgia to study the effectiveness of Georgia's ESC program between 2005 and 2007. They quickly realized that the Upper Chattahoochee watershed and the state needed a sediment BMP education program and launched the Get the Dirt Out (GTDO) program ( "GTDO empowers citizens to identify and take the appropriate steps to rectify sediment pollution using the Clean Water Act," explained UCR Watershed Protection Specialist Jason Ulseth. Visit the website for ideas for educational outreach for your community.

CONFERENCE: First Regional Quality Growth conference - "Building Sustainable Communities for the 21st Century" August 12-14, 2008, Charleston, SC. Jointly organized by the Southeast Watershed Forum, NOAA's Coastal Services Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Gulf of Mexico Program, TVA and others.

CONFERENCE: First Annual North Carolina Urban Forestry Conference - "Trees for an Urban Future: Emerging Issues, Innovations" September 9 - 11, 2008. Marriott Hotel Downtown Greensboro, NC. Cosponsored by NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the NC Urban Forest Council.

SEMINAR: TMDL Development and Implementation: Current Progress and Future Direction September 11, 2008. Sheraton Baltimore City Center, Baltimore, MD. Organized by Water Environment Federation and held in cooperation with the U.S. EPA.

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.

CONFERENCE: Wetlands 2008: Wetlands and Global Climate Change September 15-19, 2008. Doubletree Hotel & Executive Meeting Center Portland-Lloyd Center, Portland, OR. Organized by the Association of State Wetland Managers, Inc.

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.

CONFERENCE: 81st Annual Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC.08) October 18-22, 2008, McCormick Place,Chicago, IL. Organized by the Water Environment Federation.

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS due Oct 24, 2008: River Rally 2009 May 29-June 1, 2009, Baltimore, MD. The River Network is bringing its annual River Rally to our home town of Baltimore!  We have started working with other local non-profits and watershed groups who will be taking part in the program planning.  Be sure to submit your ideas for a workshop soon!

CONFERENCE: 44th AWRA Annual Water Resources Conference November 17-20, 2008. New Orleans, LA. Organized by the American Water Resources Association.

Runoff Rundown Team: Lauren Lasher, editor; Tiffany Wright, Anne Kitchell. Contributions from Center staff.
Center for Watershed Protection
In This Issue
Staff News
This Just In
We're Wrapping Up
Projects We're Working On
Projects We're Starting
Projects In Action:
Feature Article
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