Local nonprofit organizations receive close to $300,000 in grants for environmental projects

Local nonprofit organizations receive close to $300,000 in grants for environmental projects
The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection and the Chesapeake Bay Trust announced that $291,000 in grant funding has been awarded to seven organizations to improve water quality and help manage stormwater runoff in Montgomery County. Neighborhood groups, faith-based organizations, and nonprofit organizations received support ranging from $6,000 to $77,000.

“The Department of Environmental Protection is committed to improving the water quality of our local streams while contributing to the health and sustainability of our communities,” said Patty Bubar, acting Director of the Department of Environmental Protection. “This grant program fills an important niche towards meeting our mission and we’re thrilled to be able to support and engage these hard-working local groups who share this mission.”

Established in 2014, the initiative supports projects and programs that improve communities and water quality in Montgomery County through public engagement, education, and on-the-ground restoration projects.

Project types include public outreach and stewardship projects, such as volunteer-led stream cleanups, stormwater education workshops, environmental education projects and community-based restoration projects, such as rain gardens, rain barrels, tree planting, impervious pavement removal, conservation landscaping, and green roofs.

Funding for these projects is made possible through the County’s Water Quality Protection Charge.  The Chesapeake Bay Trust, a regional grant-maker specializing in engagement of not-for-profit entities in restoration and outreach work, administers the grants for Montgomery County, similar to programs it manages for seven other jurisdictions.

These programs are so important to provide residents and nonprofit groups the tools, resources, and power to be part of the solution and feel like they are improving their communities,” said Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust.  “Completing one’s first project as a nonprofit creates the capacity to do so much more and we’re proud of how many of these groups have grown and become strong grantees in other programs.”

The 2018 Montgomery County Watershed Restoration and Outreach Grant Program awardees include:

Anacostia Riverkeeper, $14,644: To engage Montgomery County Spanish-speaking populations in programs to improve water quality.

Anacostia Riverkeeper, $58,350: For rain gardens and conservation landscape plantings at the Sandy Spring Friends Meeting House.

Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States, Inc., $53,417: For a rain garden at Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Chevy Chase.

Butler Montessori, $58,275: To remove 3,000 square feet of impervious surface and install permeable pavers at Butler Montessori School in Darnestown.

Friends of Sligo Creek, $22,650: For an engineering study, conservation landscaping, dry wells, and engagement of volunteers in the Three Oaks community in Silver Spring.

University of Maryland, Environmental Finance Center, $77,096: To engage county Civic Associations in watershed restoration activities and to hold a stormwater summit in Montgomery County.

Wildlife Habitat Council, $6,568: To engage corporations in the implementation of stormwater and habitat best management practices such as rain gardens, bioretention cells, conservation landscaping, water recapture, and other practices on corporation-owned land.


About the Chesapeake Bay Trust

The Chesapeake Bay Trust ( is a nonprofit grant-making organization established by the Maryland General Assembly dedicated to improving the natural resources of Maryland and the Chesapeake region through environmental education, community engagement, and local watershed restoration. The Trust’s grantees engage hundreds of thousands of individuals annually in projects that have a measurable impact on the waterways and other natural resources of the region. The Trust is supported by the sale of the Treasure the Chesapeake license plate, donations to the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund on the Maryland State income tax form, donations from individuals and corporations, and partnerships with private foundations and federal, state, and local governments such as Montgomery County. The Trust has received the highest rating from Charity Navigator for fourteen years: 92 percent of the Trust’s expenditures are directed to its restoration and education programs.


About Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection

The mission of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection is to enhance the quality of life in our community by protecting and improving Montgomery County’s air, water, and land in a sustainable way while fostering smart growth, a thriving economy, and healthy communities.

Nominate to the Community Leader + Stream Volunteer Awards

Nominate to the Community Leader + Stream Volunteer Awards
Montgomery County takes pride in the selfless residents, businesses, civil servants, and students who donate thousands of hours to numerous community service opportunities. Our residents make up a vast community of dedicated volunteers who make a true difference in the livability of Montgomery County. The Community Leader/Stream Volunteer award highlights an individual who is committed to enhancing the quality of life in our community by protecting and improving Montgomery County’s water resources in a sustainable way.  


Nominees should have demonstrated excellence in the following area(s) (one or all):
  • Promotes awareness of stream health and watershed restoration
  • Volunteers his or her own time to actively restore their local watershed, via stream cleanups or other meaningful outdoor learning, education or volunteer opportunities
  • Shows initiative to protect our local water resources (Saw a problem, did something to fix it, organized multiple cleanups, events, activities, spearheaded public policy changes, etc.)
  • Volunteer efforts made a significant impact to an organization, a project or community related to water
  • Educates, engages, and motivates their neighbors/community to take action to protect local waterways
  • Due to their efforts, stream health/water quality is noticeably improving
  • Works to develop new and innovative partnerships especially with diverse cultures
  • Advocates and inspires change in the watershed community
  • Makes a positive impact in the community and the watershed through their leadership and influence
  • Exemplifies the qualities of a strong community leader
    Through actions big and small, residents from all walks of life can help to restore the 1,500 miles of stream in Montgomery County. Each year, our committee recognizes one remarkable person who embraces these characteristics and who leads by example to demonstrate what we can all do both individually and collectively to help our watershed communities In celebration and support of their outstanding work in the community, the H2O committee recognizes a Community leader/stream volunteer each year at the H2O Summit. Awardees must reside in Montgomery County and be willing to share their stories. We are seeking nominations from community members until September 1st.   The award will be given out at the upcoming H2O Summit on Saturday, September 16th at the Rockville Senior Center.  Learn more about the Summit. 


  • An individual living in Montgomery County Has not received any compensation for volunteer efforts Has not won in the past 5 years

Nomination Process

Nominations must be submitted to the H2O committee by September 1, 2017. All nominations must be approved by H2O committee. Effective volunteer leaders are the “keys” by which we unlock volunteer hands and minds- Quote from Develop volunteer leaders worthy of the cause by John M. Knibb, October 22, 2012 from Inside Business   Photo collage of the three winners of awards at the H2O Summit for their achievements to protect our watershed. Photos of 3 different awardees from 2013

Prior Winners:

2012 – Ed Murtagh, Friends of Sligo Creek 2013 – Paul Hlavinka, Muddy Branch Alliance Lifetime Achievement Awards; Keith Van Ness, DEP; Doug Redmond, MC Parks 2014 – Kay Fulcomer, Rock Creek Conservancy/Seneca Creek Watershed Partners 2015 – None Awarded (Event combined with GreenFest) 2016 – Kit Gage, Friends of Sligo Creek

  This same form appears on the H2O event page.  There is no need to repeat the form.

Nomination Form:

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and DEP receive joint BUBBA Award for innovation!

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and DEP receive joint BUBBA Award for innovation!
First, what exactly is a “BUBBA Award”? BUBBA is an abbreviation for Best Urban Best Management Practices in the Bay. Administered by the Chesapeake Stormwater Network, these annual awards recognize stormwater best management practices (or “BMPs”), such as rain gardens and green roofs, installed in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Montgomery County and its partners are constantly working to improve stormwater management and meet water quality improvement goals, and when the County’s Department of Environmental Protection (MCDEP) signed on to a multi-jurisdictional project with Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG), they were looking to do just that. MWCOG was awarded a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to demonstrate the use of smart, integrated stormwater management systems in 2015. With major support from the Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, MCCOG worked with MCDEP to install a creative and cost-effective device on a pond on University Boulevard that would greatly enhance water quality treatment. The innovative technology called Continuous Monitoring and Adaptive Control (CMAC), designed by a stormwater infrastructure company called Opti, represents a new and unique approach to managing stormwater. The goal of this project was to use solar power and weather data to anticipate heavy rainfall, so a stormwater management pond can effectively retain water to reduce erosion and pollution issues downstream.


How it works:

Creating a CMAC retrofit for this pond involved installing solar panels and water level sensors to adaptively control new pond outlet valves. The retrofit also utilized cloud-based software, connecting real-time forecast information from the National Weather Service with the CMAC equipment to determine the timing and expected volume of incoming storm events. In advance of a storm, the outlet valves close, which allows only stream baseflow to be released. Thus, the pond can retain more runoff volume during and after a storm. After the defined storm’s retention period is over, the software sends a signal to open the valves and release the accumulated water downstream. The pond automatically draws down to create available storage space if another event is forecasted within the retention period. Prior to utilizing CMAC, the pond would continue to collect runoff storm after storm until reaching full capacity and eventually flowing over the pond riser, releasing increased volume and nutrients into the stream.

University Blvd wet pond with solar powered CMAC control panel

What does this all mean?

The innovative design and forecast-based active control of the outlet valves essentially redesigns the pond allowing it to proactively adjust capacity for a given storm or series of storms. This reduces the risk of the pond exceeding capacity, and greatly reduces the amount of polluted runoff that reaches the stream. By utilizing the cloud-based software and optimizing the pond’s performance for a wide range of actual, real-time rainfall events, the County is able to better achieve its water quality goals and also save taxpayer dollars by eliminating the potential need for future excavation to increase water storage. is able to better achieve its water quality goals and also save taxpayer dollars by eliminating the potential need for future excavation to increase water quality volume.

We monitored the design over twelve months – and the results are in:

  • Twelve storm events were recorded that resulted in a total of 16.4 million gallons of runoff being collected. Runoff volume recorded downstream of the pond was reduced by 67% compared to runoff released prior to installing the CMAC retrofit technology.
  • Two 0.3” rainfall events were analyzed and compared for the pre- and post-retrofit pond. When comparing the discharge of total suspended solids (TSS or sediment) for both storms, the pond discharged 72% less TSS (pollution or sediment) downstream to Sligo Creek with the CMAC retrofit than without the device. A significant win for Sligo Creek!
  • Finally, analysis of five specific rainfall events from March to July 2016 revealed that with the CMAC retrofit, nitrate and TSS removal percentages surpassed the State of Maryland’s stormwater credit removal efficiency, benefiting the water quality of Sligo Creek.

Volume Control valves, before installation


New volume control valves

  For more information, check out these pages:
2017 Best BMP Retrofit

County resident receives the Presidential GreenGov sustainability hero award

County resident receives the Presidential GreenGov sustainability hero award

Congrats Ed!

In late November, the Obama Administration announced the recipients of the GreenGov Presidential Awards, which celebrates extraordinary achievement in the pursuit of President Obama’s Federal Sustainability goals. They honor Federal civilian and military personnel, agency teams, agency projects, facilities, and programs that exemplify President Obama’s charge to lead by example. County resident, Ed Murtagh, was the recipient of the Sustainability Hero Award!
Ed Murtagh Photo


As the Sustainable Operations Manager at the United States Department of Agriculture’s headquarters in D.C., Ed has created Green Teams, engaged senior leadership, developed outreach and education programs, and promoted an overall culture of sustainability throughout the agency. In addition, his efforts have resulted in the reduction of use of electricity, water, and steam; higher rates of waste diversion; greener infrastructure; increased use of environmentally preferable products; and meeting many sustainability goals, including achieving an Energy Star score of 99 at USDA’s headquarters building. The White House announced eight awards in seven different categories to individuals and teams. These honorees exemplify our Federal workforce’s commitment to meeting the President’s directive to create a clean energy economy that will increase our Nation’s prosperity, promote energy security, protect the interests of taxpayers, combat climate change, and safeguard the health of our environment.  
DEP staff on a USDA solar tour

Ed took Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection staff on a tour of the USDA solar facility.

  Along with the amazing work Ed has done to green the USDA, he is also a green leader in the community.  He is a GreenWheaton founding member and current President who has lived in Wheaton for 20 years.  He is also a member of the Friends of Sligo Creek and the Neighbors of Northwest Branch through which he encourages homeowners to manage their onsite stormwater management. Logo of GreenWheaton   Thank you Ed for all the work you do to make our County and Country a greener, healthier place to live.  

Montgomery County wins nationwide stormwater management award

Montgomery County wins nationwide stormwater management award
Montgomery County was one of six recipients of the new national municipal stormwater and green infrastructure awards at the 88th Annual Water Environment Federation (WEF) Technical Exhibition and Conference held September 28 in Chicago. Montgomery County won the Phase I program management category for its multifaceted and effective Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) program and was recognized as a national leader in stormwater management. Developed through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the award recognizes high-performing, regulated MS4s and inspires municipal government agencies to exceed requirements through innovative and cost-effective approaches.  
Fallsberry pond plants being installed

Fallsberry pond plants being installed

  “Montgomery County has made tremendous progress in meeting our water quality goals,” said Lisa Feldt, director of the County’s Department of Environmental Protection. “We are very grateful to be recognized on a national scale for our continued efforts to address stormwater pollution and to work to restore our streams and rivers and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. This award reflects the close coordination and cooperation among County departments, agencies and co-permittees and the strong commitment they share for watershed management, restoration and improved water quality, while also working hand-in-hand to achieve sustainable economic growth.”  
Six students painting a storm drain

Students from the Bullis School painting storm drain art

  Through the County’s robust MS4 program, approximately 1,030 acres of impervious area are currently being controlled by completed restoration projects. Another 2,386 acres are in the design phase. These projects – and projects installed by the development community – have resulted in a dramatic increase in stormwater management practices from three percent to 38 percent over the past five years. “The awards were developed to inspire MS4 program leaders toward innovation that is both technically effective and financially efficient,” said WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill. “The success of this first year shows great promise for the program as a means to continually support, encourage and recognize this important and growing segment of the water sector.”  
Before and after images showing the gradation of stream banks to prevent erosion

Before and after images showing the gradation of stream banks to prevent erosion

  Applications were reviewed and winners selected by a diverse steering committee that included members and volunteers from WEF’s stormwater and watershed national committees, as well as representatives from national stormwater organizations. For more information about this recognition program, visit or contact Learn more about Montgomery County’s stormwater program and progress in improving local water quality.