Investing in our community: A look at the first year of watershed grants

Pleasant View Historic Site restoration volunteers
In 2016, the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Trust, awarded $350,000 in grants to community groups and nonprofit organizations working to improve our local water quality.

The goal of the grants program is promote initiatives and projects that improve water quality in Montgomery County’s local streams and waterways through public engagement, education, and on-the-ground restoration.

Kids School

Glenville kids green club mural and conservation landscape

  During the first grant cycle, 13 projects were funded ranging from $10,000 to $51,000.  The grantees and their partners also contributed $140,000 in matching funds, further expanding the impact of the projects.


Diane Cameron, Audubon National Society, providing a homeowner workshop on stormwater control

The Funded Projects:

  • Montgomery County Watershed Stewards Academy
  • Watershed and Stormwater Management Education Videos
  • Public Outreach and Stewardship and Community-Based Restoration Implementation at Sandy Spring Friends School
  • Trees for Sacred Places Montgomery County

Restoration Project

Earth Steward Volunteers planting a conservation landscape at Pleasant View Historic site along Darnestown Rd

  • Enhancing the Green on Greenery Lane Demonstration Project
  • Public Outreach and Stewardship on Sacred Grounds: Engaging the Faith-Based Community of Montgomery County in Watershed Management
  • Community-Based Restoration Implementation: Churches to increase cistern and rain garden ripples through Montgomery County
  • Public Outreach and Stewardship- Rock Creek Park In Your Backyard
  • Expanding the Water WatchDog Program in the Sligo Creek Watershed

Construction Project

Construction of a rain garden at Silver Spring United Methodist church

  • Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) public outreach, stewardship and community-based restoration
  • Public Outreach and Stewardship Project for the Cabin John Creek Watershed
  • Stakeholder Engagement with Montgomery Housing Partnership
  • Creating a Watershed Restoration Public Demonstration Center at Woodend Nature Sanctuary

Student engagement project

Victor Bennett prepping students from Sandy Springs Friends School before construction of their rain garden

Accomplishments of the Awarded Grants:

  • Volunteer efforts: 16,661 hrs donated from 880 volunteers, equaling $443,849.04 in service hour labor to the community
  • Total treatment of 2.23 acres of impervious surface.
  • 2,243 workshop attendees from the 53 community workshops held
  • 409 Trees planted
  • Installed 8,478 sq. ft of conservation landscaping and 650 sf of rain gardens including 1,660 native plants
  • Removal of 250 sq ft of Impervious surface
  • 15,185 gallons of rain water consistently captured through 13 cisterns and 45 rain barrels installed by grantees and their partners such as the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Grantees were able to work with 26 communities and 78 faith based organizations directly resulting in 21 additional RainScapes applications and more than 100 stormwater site assessments.
  • Production of 3 educational videos on stormwater pollution and increased website and social media traffic to the organizations respective websites.

Volunteer installing down spout on a rain barrel

Member of the Potomac chapter of the Boy Scouts of America working with the Friends of Cabin John watershed group to fit a rain barrel on a home.