Kids holding up a bioretention banner

DEP and MCPS team up to protect our waterways

Oct 17, 2017

On October 17th, fifth grade students from Strathmore Elementary School cut the ribbon to mark the officially completion of four Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) rain gardens.

County Executive Isiah Leggett, MCPS Superintendent Dr. Jack R. Smith, DEP Director Lisa Feldt, Strathmore Elementary School Principal Tivinia G. Nelson and Principal Intern Carrie Zimmerman joined the students for the event, which took place at Strathmore Elementary School located in Silver Spring. The other three schools include, Argyle Middle School, Newport Mill Middle School and Sligo Middle School.

 

Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in cooperation with MCPS constructed the projects.

“The Strathmore Elementary School children did an excellent job finishing up the planting for this important project,” said Leggett. “This great teamwork between DEP and MCPS not only benefits our schools but provides environmental benefits, such as improved water quality for our County streams and the Chesapeake Bay.”

“MCPS is taking steps to reduce its impact on the environment,” said Smith. “These stormwater management projects have been a great way for us to teach our students about the importance of environmental stewardship. We thank DEP for their partnership and commitment to engaging MCPS students in efforts to protect our county’s critical environmental resources.”
The County Executive and a student working on the bioretention garden

The County Executive and a student working on the bioretention garden

 

DEP collaborated with MCPS to ensure the new stormwater management projects at the four schools achieved maximum environmental benefits and complimented the MCPS capital improvement plans. The completed projects are a cost-effective, environmentally-efficient way to capture storm and pollutant runoff.

 

Ribbon cutting on the new bioretention project

 

Prior to the implementation of these projects, stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces (parking lots, roof tops, etc.) on these school properties was routed into storm drain pipes and directly to local streams. These projects now redirect the runoff into rain gardens where it filters through plants and soil before replenishing the groundwater. Prior to the project, the unfiltered runoff went directly into an adjacent stream.

Student from Strathmore Elementary School speaking at an event

“Ms. Lee’s fifth grade students asked a million questions about the bioretention process and how our small rain garden will help the environment,” said Nelson. “Now, they are eager to learn and do more!”

The four schools are in the Anacostia and Rock Creek watersheds, which eventually feed into the Chesapeake Bay. The fifth graders who participated in the ceremony completed an environmental education curriculum the year before, which explained the importance of watershed management.
D&F Construction served as the contractor for the projects. The construction cost for the four projects was approximately $1.7 million and funded with assistance from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund. For more information about this and other stormwater management projects, go to montgomerycountymd.gov/water.
Bioretention gardens absorb rainwater and filter pollutants using soil, stone and plants.

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