It's the Little Things that Matter in Stormwater Management

With the Chesapeake Bay Reboot and new MS4 permit requirements hitting municipalities, many are left asking, “How can we possibly accomplish this?” There are many ways to attack a stormwater management issue, and in a large watershed, the task can seem daunting. But when you stop and think about it, it really comes down to identifying, prioritizing, and properly managing small areas of land within the larger watershed. The combined impact of small BMP projects on a watershed can be astounding, and are only amplified as one moves downstream.

At Spotts, Stevens and McCoy, we’re able to help our clients find the most cost efficient way of achieving their permit and pollution reduction goals. By utilizing mapping and modeling software, such as ArcMap, MapShed, and the BayFAST models, we’re able to get an idea as to how current land uses and activities within MS4 limits impact local waterways. We can also make adjustments for any existing BMPs, and plan for the future by determining the most cost efficient BMPs, and the location in which they’ll have the biggest impact on water quality. For instance, planting a rain garden down-gradient of a large parking lot could have a bigger impact on water quality than the same rain garden in a grassy park.

When we look at water quality issues at the local level, as opposed to a large watershed scale, not only are the concepts and goals more reasonable and achievable, but we’re able to engage the community to do their part. Instead of worrying about cleaning up the bay downstream, worry about cleaning up your local streams. These little actions can lead to big impacts. Residents will take pride in BMP projects and results, and will get excited about being able to use the waterways for recreation and fishing. As a bonus, you’ll still be doing your part in helping your downstream neighbors.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Ashton Hogarth, Environmental Specialist

An example of how stormwater BMPs can be situated so as to achieve the greatest impact on water quality (images from the PA DEP Bureau of Watershed Management “Pennsylvania Stormwater Best Practices Manual”, Chapter 6)

An example of how stormwater BMPs can be situated so as to achieve the greatest impact on water quality (images from the PA DEP Bureau of Watershed Management “Pennsylvania Stormwater Best Practices Manual”, Chapter 6)