Monthly Archives

September 2018

Project Highlight: Narragansett Parkway’s Micro-bioretention Areas in the City of College Park

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City of College Park, Maryland, installs two micro-bioretention areas to treat stormwater runoff along Narragansett Parkway.

Impervious surfaces, such as driveways and parking lots, prevent rainwater from soaking into the ground. Instead, the water runs off these surfaces and carries pollutants that it has picked up along the way. This untreated stormwater runoff flows into storm drains and into our waterways, resulting in polluted streams and rivers that negatively affect aquatic wildlife and human health and safety.

Currently, the stormwater runoff from the neighborhoods and surrounding streets along Narragansett Parkway and Muskogee Street in the City of College Park are collected in inlets along the curbs and at intersections. The stormwater runoff flows directly into the rock-lined channel in the middle of Narragansett Parkway until it reaches Indian Creek.

In order to treat the stormwater runoff and remove pollutants, the City installed two micro-bioretention areas totaling 316 square feet at Narragansett Parkway and Muskogee Street, next to a local park.

This project was funded in part by the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program, a partnership between the Trust and the County, which aims to improve water quality in the County’s waterways, improve communities, and engage County residents in the issues associated with stormwater runoff pollution.

Micro-bioretention areas, also referred to as rain gardens, capture stormwater runoff and allow it to pond temporarily. The plants in the micro-bioretention are native species that are adapted to the site’s soil and light conditions and help filter the runoff. Treated water that is not absorbed or taken up by the plants is released to the storm drain system by an underdrain. This location was selected due to its high visibility and educational value to the community. In addition, this location was ranked as one of the top five priority restoration areas in the Indian Creek Subwatershed Restoration Plan.

The City installed educational signage at the site that provides information about the micro-bioretention area. One of the signs includes a QR code that links to the Prince George’s County Clean Water Partnership. The use of signage that provides smartphone links to the County’s website and stormwater restoration programs provides a highly effective method of communication and education to residents.

This project provides an opportunity for local residents to learn about stormwater benefits and shows how stormwater controls can be integrated into the landscape at the neighborhood level.

The Prince George’s Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program is currently open and accepting applications. 


Educational signage installed at the site provides information about the micro-bioretention areas. Click on the image to get a closer look.

Project Highlight: Borough of Chambersburg’s Rhodes Drive Reconstruction and Bioretention Basin

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These little projects matter.

Richard L. Alloway IIPennsylvania State Senator

“Green Streets” grant helps Borough upgrade central emergency route while improving water quality

This week the Trust joined the Borough of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in celebrating the dedication of their Rhodes Drive Reconstruction and Bioretention Basin project, which was funded in part through a Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns grant.

Rhodes Drive is centrally located within the Borough, adjacent to the local library, a senior living facility, and a municipal parking lot. Although it is a one-way street, the Chambersburg Emergency Services Department uses the road to respond to calls on the south side of the Borough, with emergency vehicles traveling the street 15-20 times a day. Therefore, it is crucial that Rhodes Drive remains safe and accessible. It is also an important community asset; when it is not being used as an emergency route, it serves as a staging area for several charity run/walk events, Borough parades, and other events.

Prior to initiating this project, Rhodes Drive was in extremely poor condition—inspections revealed significant heaving (a serious issue for an emergency route) and multiple stormwater inlets that discharged directly into Falling Spring Creek (a noted trout stream), which flows into Conococheague Creek, then on to the Potomac River, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

Under the direction of the Borough’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Department, the Borough undertook a comprehensive green and gray infrastructure project to address both the structural and environmental issues associated with Rhodes Drive’s poor condition. The reconstructed roadway was funded with grants through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Franklin County Conservation District.

Funding from the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns grant program, a partnership between the Trust, U.S. EPA Mid-Atlantic Region, City of Baltimore Office of Sustainability, with support from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, enabled the Borough to enhance the project with a bioretention basin, a stormwater best management practice (BMP) designed to catch and treat the first flush of polluted stormwater, running the full length of the street. The basin is planted with native, pollinator-friendly plants that will help to absorb nutrients before the water runs into the adjacent stream. The Green Streets funding also enabled the Borough to replace the sidewalk with a winding park path of permeable pavers, which removes impervious surface, enhances the adjacent park, and improves access to the green space for the residents of the nearby senior living facility.

Rhodes Drive is now the first official “Green Street” in the Borough, which has plans to continue incorporating green infrastructure into future projects.

According to Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill, “the Borough is hoping to set a positive trend and important precedent with the Rhodes Drive infrastructure improvements, as the project was the first MS4 Department storm sewer project to incorporate “green” BMPs. We want to demonstrate how public works projects can be effective and good for the environment.”

Learn more about the Borough of Chambersburg and the Rhodes Drive project here and here.

Learn about the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns grant program here.

Project Highlight: Greenbelt Homes, Inc.’s Rain Garden at 20 Court Ridge

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A stone diaphragm intercepts, captures, and directs stormwater runoff from the hillside and parking lot to a rain garden that slows, filters, and absorbs the runoff.

Community installs new stormwater best management practice that reduces stormwater runoff, erosion, and flooding.

Communities all across the Chesapeake Bay watershed face stormwater-related issues that range from poor drainage to flooding. The Greenbelt Homes, Inc. (GHI) community in Prince George’s County, Maryland, is no exception. GHI is a housing cooperative comprising of 1,600 homes built in the 1930s and 1940s. In the last 70 years, the surrounding area’s topography has significantly changed, with a dramatic increase in the amount of impervious surfaces created due to urban development. Impervious surfaces, such as pavement and roofs, do not allow water to infiltrate into the ground, resulting in large volumes of stormwater runoff that carry increased amounts of pollutants into local streams and rivers.

To help reduce stormwater runoff and pollution to our waterways, communities can implement a variety of stormwater best management practices on their property. In 2016, GHI applied for and received a grant award through the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program to install a stormwater best management practice comprised of a stone diaphragm, stone swale, and rain garden at 20 Court Ridge Road. The 20 Court Ridge housing units are located at the bottom of a hill adjacent to a large parking lot. Previously during rain events, stormwater runoff would flow freely down the hill, often causing flooding in the homes’ crawlspaces, walkways, and common areas. After the installation of the new system, completed earlier this year, the GHI community has noticed significant improvements. Now, the stone diaphragm prevents stormwater runoff from flowing directly to the housing units by intercepting and capturing the runoff. The stone diaphragm carries the runoff downhill, then through underground pipes across the parking lot, and finally into a stone swale and rain garden. The rain garden slows, captures, and filters stormwater runoff using plants and soil mixes that mimic natural filtering processes that remove pollutants. The rain garden features a variety of native plants, such as butterfly milkweed and beardtongue, that are adapted to local site conditions, and therefore require less maintenance, watering, and fertilizer. In addition, native plants attract pollinators and other wildlife, such as butterflies and birds, to the rain garden, resulting in a beautiful outdoor space for residents to enjoy.

Congrats to GHI for the successful implementation of their first major stormwater best management practice and for their commitment to improving our waterways!

This project was funded by the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program, a partnership between the Trust and the County, which aims to improve water quality in the County’s waterways, improve communities, and engage County residents in the issues associated with stormwater runoff pollution.

The Prince George’s Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program is currently open and accepting applications.