Summer 2009
Issue # 35
Welcome to the 35th issue of Runoff Rundown, the Center for Watershed Protection's quarterly electronic newsletter!
Columbia, SC

Registration is open for the 2009 Watershed Institute!

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

Join the CWP staff in Columbia, South Carolina for an intensive, interesting, and interactive four-day learning experience specifically designed to help watershed professionals learn to:
  • Utilize field and desktop methods to complete a watershed plan from beginning to end
  • Interpret real data and integrate findings into a watershed plan
  • Apply practical methods in watershed professions, including specific project investigations, such as urban forestry and wetland assessments

2009 Watershed Institute

September 22-25, 2009
Clarion Hotel Downtown
Columbia, SC

Staff News

The Center had some recent staff changes, welcoming new staff and saying a sad farewell as other staff move on to new opportunities.
Moving On
Tiffany Wright, former Watershed Analyst and manual killer, is now restoring watersheds in the City of Bowie, Maryland as the City's Watershed Manager.  New mom, Lauren Lasher, is a full time mother to her beautiful twins, Caleb and Madeleine.  Native Chicagoan, Mike Novotney, is headed back to the windy city to spread the watershed message as a Project Manager at Baxter & Woodman Consulting Engineers.
Best of luck to everyone!!
New Additions
We are pleased to announce three new additions to our staff, a watershed manager, watershed technician and a summer intern.  Bryan Seipp, our new Watershed Manager, knows how to get restoration projects implemented, based on his experience while working with the Potomac Conservancy. Bryan has a Bachelor of Science in Forest Resource Management from Virginia Tech. 
Cecilia Lane joined the Center as a Watershed Technician after a very productive internship with the Center this past Spring. Cecilia has a Bachelor of Science in Geography and Environmental Systems from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.  
Summer Intern, Hyunjin Kim, knows a raster from a vector file.  She is working towards her 2nd Masters in GIS at the University of Maryland College Park. 
Something Borrowed, Something Blue...
Best Wishes to Water Resources Engineer Kelly Collins on her recent nuptials to Nick Ludlow!
It's a Girl!
Congrats to Executive Director Hye Yeong Kwon and family on her second daughter, Isabelle, born May 19, 2009.

Runoff Ramblings

Flexing the Infiltration Muscle: What's the Role of ET?
With the previous edition of Runoff Rundown, we introduced the "Runoff Ramblings" series as a way to stimulate thought in the watershed and stormwater community and get some feedback from our colleagues.  This installment of Runoff Ramblings deals with the very timely topic of stormwater infiltration standards and the neglected role of ET (evapotranspiration, not extraterrestrials).
Has your state or locality flexed its "Infiltration Muscle?"  This seems to be a popular trend among stormwater agencies, with an "infiltrate as much as possible wherever possible" attitude. Some agencies have translated this concept into real regulations that require the infiltration of certain volumes of water at each development or redevelopment site (e.g., volume of the 1-year or 2-year storm, post-development to pre-development).  For some, this is a "back to the future" scenario with the "infiltrate first" edicts of the 1990s. 
 Infiltrate or else...
This trend is being espoused by the Infiltration Muscle Gang, as depicted in Figure 1.

These infiltration objectives seem to be a good idea, to better replicate the pre-development site hydrology and keep as much water as possible from leaving the site.  However, is this level of infiltration really part of "natural" hydrology?  Is it always a good idea?  Here at the Center, our staff has had some hearty exchanges on these topics, and we thought we'd take the opportunity to do some rambling.   Read more of Runoff Ramblings

Figure 1. Some terrifying members of the Infiltration Muscle Gang 
(Photo source:

CWP Webcasts

Since we offered our June webcast, Managing Stormwater in the Age of Budget Cuts, for free, the archive of this webcast is also free and available to all at

Our next webcast will take place in October, and will focus on the restoration of urban and suburban watersheds through stormwater retrofitting. In particular, it will discuss the design and implementation of stormwater retrofit practices featured in CWP's Urban Stormwater Retrofit Practices manual, which discusses retrofitting existing urban lands, such as parking lots, residential streets, conveyance systems and landscaped areas. The webcast will also provide information about the cost and pollutant removal performance of stormwater retrofits.
Stormwater Retrofitting - Wednesday, October 14, 12-2pm EST
Registration will open in August

For more information, please visit
Feature Article:

Extreme BMP Makeover

cover of Extreme BMP Technical ReportThe Center and its Extreme BMP Makeover project partners have been quite busy over the last few months.  On June 26th, we presented findings from last year's stormwater BMP performance study to a crowd of stormwater staff from over 10 different localities in Virginia's James River watershed, many of whom participated in the study.  The primary feature of this study was a performance survey of nearly 200 stormwater BMP facilities in urban areas throughout the James River watershed.  BMP types surveyed included bioretention cells, permeable pavers, constructed wetlands, detention and retention ponds, infiltration trenches, swales, and more.  At each BMP site, field teams looked for: indicators of erosion, clogging, and structural problems at the inlets and outlets; conditions directly downstream of the BMP; health of vegetative cover; signs of improper flow paths of water; maintenance issues; interesting design features; and more. Our recently completed technical report describes the survey results and provides recommendations regarding:
  • BMP design issues - geometry, pre-treatment mechanisms, soil media, etc.
  • BMP construction issues - grading, sizing of BMP, elevation issues, etc.
  • BMP maintenance issues - sediment deposition, vegetation health, etc.
  • Programmatic issues - plan review process, inspections of BMPs, and more.
This technical report is available here, on the Center's website.
James River Extreme BMP photo 1If you haven't heard about it already, the Extreme BMP Makeover is a three-year endeavor to aggressively improve the pollutant reduction achieved by stormwater management practices serving development in the James River watershed.  This initiative involves a broad partnership between the Center, James River Association, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, Chesapeake Stormwater Network, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and nearly a dozen localities in the James River watershed.  Major funding for this project comes from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Altria.
This project has been coordinated with ongoing efforts to update Virginia's stormwater regulations and stormwater management handbook.  In the past two years, the Center and the Chesapeake Stormwater Network have collaborated with VA DCR and the American Society of Civil Engineers to conduct eleven site design charettes across the state, many of them within the James River watershed.  During these charettes, stormwater design practitioners used real-world site plans to test out the new proposed stormwater management criteria which limit phosphorus loads from new James River Extreme BMP photo 2development to 0.28 lbs. per year.  These charette workshops have enabled stormwater practitioners to practice developing stormwater design plans using on-site stormwater practices, such as bioretention cells and swales, and runoff reduction techniques such as downspout disconnection and open space conservation.  The feedback provided by the more than 400 participants of these workshops will help refine the new state-wide stormwater management criteria. 
The Center, the Chesapeake Stormwater Network, and several other partners have also worked over the past few months to produce new draft design specifications for fourteen different stormwater BMPs, emphasizing runoff reduction and enhanced pollutant removal.  These specifications will be presented to VA DCR this summer for consideration for use in the state's new stormwater management handbook.  Visit to view draft versions of these specifications.
July marks the beginning of our third and final year of the Extreme BMP Makeover.  Among other activities, during this next year we hope to accomplish the following:James River Extreme BMP photo 3
  • Help communities in the James River watershed adjust to new stormwater regulations;
  • Work with several James River watershed communities to develop innovative stormwater BMP demonstration sites;
  • Explore possibilities for a watershed-wide or state-wide BMP monitoring consortium; and
  • Conduct a Chesapeake Bay-wide Stormwater Institute in the James River basin.

Top photo: Evaluating a bioretention cell
Middle photo: Cattail monocultures were found in many constructed wetlands
Bottom photo: Evaluating a parking lot dry swale

What We're Working On

New Projects
Stormwater Retrofit Plan for the Anchorage Drainage Canal
The Anchorage Canal is the northernmost canal in South Bethany, DE and connects to Little Assawoman Bay. Relative to other canals in South Bethany, it has a large drainage area, about half of which may be impervious surface.  Existing studies show that high levels of nitrogen, hydrocarbons, and sediment enter the canal from the watershed, which produces runoff even during light rains. The Center is working with the DE Center for the Inland Bays (CIB) and Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson (JMT) to identify, prioritize, and conceptually develop pollution control measures for the drainage area. An organizational meeting was held in May with local project partners and fieldwork is scheduled to be conducted in August.
 Deep Creek Lake Watershed - Volunteers assess stream conditions
Deep Creek Lake Watershed Action Plan

The Center is partnering with Friends of Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County, MD, to complete an action plan for the Deep Creek Lake Watershed.  The lake, nestled in Maryland's Appalachian Plateau Province, is a popular destination spot for water and mountain lovers when the summer heat becomes unbearable.  Skiers and snow aficionados flock there in the winter to enjoy the popular Wisp Ski Resort and ice-skating on the lake. 
A total of 65 square miles, the lake has eight main tributaries, plus a dozen smaller streams that total 110 miles of stream.  The lake itself is 11 miles long, 3,600 acres, and harbors 64 miles of shoreline that is owned by the Maryland
Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  Despite
Neighborhood assessment at Deep Creek Lakethe abundant natural beauty, the watershed suffers from numerous impairments, including mercury contamination in fish tissue, phosphorus and bacteria loading in the tributaries, and low pH from coal and peat mining. 
In May, Center staff teamed up with numerous volunteers from Friends of Deep Creek Lake, University of Maryland Sea Grant Extension Program, and the Maryland DNR to complete field work for the Action Plan. The field work included stream assessments, neighborhood assessments, identification of retrofit opportunities, a hotspot inventory, and collection of water and soil samples.  Field work data is currently being analyzed and a preliminary report will be prepared by early fall.

Top photo: Volunteers assess stream conditions at a stream crossing in the Deep Creek Lake Watershed, Garrett County, MD.
Bottom photo: Volunteers assess a neighborhood in the Deep Creek Lake Watershed for potential sources of pollution and restoration opportunities.
Bad River Watershed Association become "Stream Doctors"

You may remember reading about our technical capacity mini-grant program in past issues of Runoff Rundown.  One of the Center's grant recipients, the Bad River Watershed Association (BRWA) from Ashland, WI, is taking important steps towards implementing their proposal to the Center.  The BRWA's proposal has two primary elements: 1) understanding the relationship between the BRWA's Marengo Rivervolunteer-collected water quality monitoring data, development patterns, and stream health and 2) receiving training from the Center to conduct a watershed assessment in one selected subwatershed of the Bad River.  Since the grant award was made, the Center and BRWA staff used the BRWA's water quality data, along with land use and qualitative assessment information, to select the Marengo River as the subwatershed in which to focus a watershed assessment.  A Center staff person traveled to the banks of Lake Superior to provide stream assessment training to BRWA staff at the end of June.  After the initial reconnaissance and training, BRWA and the Center staff led volunteers through the watershed assessment process, what BRWA has cleverly titled, "Becoming a Stream Doctor."  Next steps include BRWA preparing a summary report of watershed conditions based on field work findings.  We wish them luck on the process and congratulate them on their recent grant award from the National Fish & Wildlife Federation to conduct a full-scale watershed assessment of the Marengo River basin!  For more information about the BRWA, visit their web-site website at

Above photo: Marengo River, near a water quality monitoring station.
Project Updates
A Scalable Inventory Approach for Comprehensive Wetland Protection (aka Wetland Inventory)
The Center is developing a standard methodology that communities can use to estimate the extent and benefits of vulnerable wetlands in their jurisdictions with input from an expert advisory committee. The goal is for local governments to use this process to develop an inventory that acknowledges the role of wetlands as an important part of their community infrastructure, and to develop a plan for protecting their most vulnerable wetlands. The inventory process involves the following three steps:
1. Establish local government need for vulnerable wetland inventory
2. Identify and prioritize vulnerable wetlands
3. Select regulatory and non-regulatory tools to protect priority vulnerable wetlands
A draft of the inventory methodology has currently been completed.  On Thursday, August 6th, 2009, the advisory committee will meet in the Baltimore/D.C. area to discuss and further refine the methodology.  The committee is composed of approximately 20 experts representing various federal and state agencies, as well as local governments and private consultants.
West River Watershed Stream Corridor and Upland Assessments 

West RiverEarly this year the Center conducted a stream corridor and upland assessment in the West River watershed. The West River and Rhode River make up the West Rhode River watershed located near Galesville and Shady Side in southern Maryland. The West River Watershed is listed as impaired on Maryland's 303 (d) list for nutrients, sediment, bacteria, biological and toxics. Our analysis identified "hotspot" areas, which were mainly marinas, evaluated stream reaches, and examined the residential areas. In addition, initial retrofit concept designs to improve onsite water quality were developed. Based on these assessments, the receiving waters will benefit from better land use practices such as updating septic systems for nitrogen removal, providing outreach and support to local farmers, and implementing additional pollution prevention and stormwater retrofits within the Clean Marina program. The two retrofit sites with the highest potential to treat stormwater runoff effectively and promote community awareness were further investigated to guide their construction and installation. The Center plans to build on these initial findings during the future Rhode River watershed assessment and will produce a West Rhode River watershed plan in cooperation with the Riverkeeper and community stakeholders.

Above photo: West River Marina
Charm City Welcomes National River Rally

This years River Rally rolled into Baltimore's Inner Harbor May 28-31 with many Center staff in attendance.  The Center and partners were excited to lead five sessions that showcased ongoing local urban Baltimore watershed initiatives.  Session partners included the Herring Run Watershed Association, Jones Falls Watershed Association, City of Baltimore, and Frederick County staff.  Center sessions included:
  • The Downlow on Downspout Disconnection
  • Illicit Discharges - Finding and Fixing Them
  • Urban Watershed Forestry
  • Watershed 263: Science and Watershed Restoration Collide
  • Retrofitting in Pavement Paradise

Where We're Speaking

Laurel Woodworth will be making a presentation about watershed protection for the Lake Gaston Association in Littleton, NC on July 27th.
Laurel Woodworth will be conducting a Unified Stream Assessment workshop at the annual Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Districts employee training event on August 26th.
Three CWP staff will be attending StormCon annual conference in Anaheim, CA from August 16 - 20th:
David Hirschman and Laurel Woodworth are teaming with Biohabitats, Inc. for a pre-conference workshop entitled, "The Art and Science of Stormwater Retrofitting".
David and Laurel will also be making a presentation about the Extreme BMP Makeover's 200-stormwater-BMP survey results.  Kelly Collins will be presenting, "A South Carolina Case Study: Developing a Comprehensive Management Plan for Crane Creek."

Center for Watershed Protection 2009 Watershed Institute
Eight CWP staff will be presenting everything we know (almost) about watershed planning, protection, and restoration at the 2009 Watershed Institute in Columbia, South Carolina on September 22-25, 2009.
Interested in a Center workshop?
If you are interested in a training workshop for your community or requesting a Center-led session at your conference, please contact Laurel Woodworth, (434) 293-5793,
RESOURCE: EPA Green Infrastructure Publications
EPA developed a series of documents to help local officials implement green infrastructure in their communities. Each handbook cover issues such as financing, operation and maintenance, incentives, designs, codes & ordinances, and a variety of other subjects. The handbook documents are intended to serve as "how to" manuals on these topics, written primarily from the standpoint of municipal implementation.
CONFERENCE: NACo Annual Conference and Exposition July 24-28, 2009. Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, Nashville/Davidson County, TN. Organized by the National Association of Counties (NACo).
CONFERENCE: International Association of Hydraulic Engineering & Research Congress - Water Engineering for a Sustainable Environment August 9-14, 2009.  Hyatt Regency, Vancouver, BC. Organized by the IAHR Congress.
CONFERENCE:  StormCon '09 - the North American Surface Water Quality Conference & Exposition August 16-20, 2009. Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim, CA. Organized by StormCon.
CONFERENCE: Forests and Water in a Changing Environment September 14-16, 2009. The Brownstone Hotel, Raleigh, NC. Organized by the Southern Global Change Program.         

CONFERENCE: Estuaries and Coasts in a Changing World November 1-5, 2009. Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR. Organized by the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation.

CONFERENCE: CASQA Stormwater Conference: Stormwater Management: Challenges and Solutions November 2-4, 2009. Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa, San Diego, CA. Organized by California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA).

CONFERENCE: 10th National Conference on Science, Policy, and the Environment - The New Green Economy January 20-22, 2010. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, DC. Organized by the National Council for Science and the Environment.

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS due August 12, 2009: 2010 International Low Impact Development (LID) Conference April 11-14, 2010. Westin San Francisco Airport Hotel, San Francisco, CA. Organized by ASCE and EWRI. 
Runoff Rundown Team: Julie Tasillo, editor; Greg Hoffmann, Kathy Proebstle. Contributions from Center staff.
Center for Watershed Protection
In This Issue
Staff News
Runoff Ramblings
Feature Article
What We're Working On