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Watersheds, Rivers & Streams

The term water­shed refers to the region or area of land that all drains into the same river or stream. Howard County’s water­shed plan­ning and man­age­ment includes all of the activ­i­ties related to pre­serv­ing, pro­tect­ing and restor­ing the streams, wet­lands, forests and other nat­ural resources within the com­mu­nity and is the frame­work for much of our envi­ron­men­tal projects. Howard County lies within the water­sheds of two major trib­u­taries to the Chesa­peake Bay, the Patux­ent and Pat­ap­sco Rivers.

Rivers and Water­sheds
The Major Water­sheds Map shows the nine major water­sheds in the County – find out which water­shed you live in and then dis­cover ways to help pro­tect our water­ways below.

The Stormwa­ter Man­age­ment Divi­sion within the Howard County Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works, Bureau of Envi­ron­men­tal Ser­vices, con­ducts bio­log­i­cal water qual­ity mon­i­tor­ing and stream cor­ri­dor assess­ment sur­veys. Com­pre­hen­sive water­shed assess­ment have been done within the Mid­dle Patux­ent River and the Lit­tle Patux­ent River water­sheds.  More recently, the Pat­ap­sco River and Main­stem Patux­ent River water­sheds were assessed.  The water­shed assess­ments are per­formed to cre­ate an inven­tory of the nat­ural resources as well as exist­ing prob­lems (ero­sion, trash, lack of wooded stream buffers, etc.) within these water­sheds. Another result of the assess­ments are a list of poten­tial projects that could be done to pro­tect and restore these resources, address the prob­lems, and ulti­mately improve water qual­ity in our County streams and water bodies.

To find out more about water­shed assess­ments, the Coun­ty­wide Imple­men­ta­tion Strat­egy, the Down­town Elli­cott City Flood Study, county per­mits and more, visit the Stormwa­ter Man­age­ment Divi­sion webpage.

Howard County funds grants to local non-profit groups to pro­mote out­reach and restora­tion in our water­sheds.  Apply for a grant to help your com­mu­nity pro­tect water resources: Chesa­peake Bay Trust

Green Tip

Use cloth napkins.It’s actually cheaper to throw cloth napkins in the wash than to buy paper ones.