Howard projects help improve water quality, environment

Local,Josh Kowalkowski
A number of Howard County stormwater projects, including stream restorations, are improving water quality and the environment.

“The long-term benefits of the projects are ... decreasing sediment-loading and slowing water flow so it doesn’t run off as quickly,” said Evelyn Tomlin, chief of the county’s Bureau of Environmental Services.

County officials, led by County Executive Ken Ulman and the Environmental Services bureau, recently toured several environmental projects completed over the past several years, said spokesman Kevin Enright.

“We did this for educational purposes and as an outreach to show residents the variety of services we do,” Tomlin said.

Two of the projects were stream restorations, which involved restoring hundreds of feet of eroded stream channels.

The restoration in the Brightfield community in Ellicott City was completed this March, while the one in Wilde Lake was completed in March 2005.

Work on the stream channels at these locations involved placing down stone and planting native plants.

“This minimizes sediment and other pollutants at the site from moving downstream and eventually to the [Chesapeake] Bay,” said Tomlin.

Another two projects were bioretention facilities at Burleigh Manor Middle School and Centennial Lane High School, both in Ellicott City.

Bioretention facilities are small, landscaped basins used for stormwater management.

The projects, which were finished in October 2006, also created a partnership with the schools.

“It takes many of these kinds of projects for change, but we’re getting more and more of them completed,” Tomlin said.

There are many actions residents can do every day to promote environmental restoration, including washing cars on the grass instead of the driveway and not mowing grass up to the edge of streams, Tomlin said.
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