Hats off to Arlington County, Va., for encouraging more property owners to reduce stormwater runoff. Through the innovative StormwaterWise Landscape program, property owners receive matching grants when they take actions that significantly reduce runoff flowing over their land.
Why is this important? Stormwater carries pollutants to our local streams, like lawn chemicals, fertilizers, antifreeze, oil, heavy metals, and bacteria from failing septic systems and pet waste. Excessive runoff can flood and damage property, flood septic system drainfields, erode stream channels, and damage or destroy fish and wildlife habitat. And, when less water soaks into the ground, drinking water supplies are not replenished and streams and wetlands are not recharged, which can lead to water shortages.
People who implement practices on their property that collect stormwater or slow the flow of stormwater are allowing more water to soak into the ground. And last year, Arlington’s StormwaterWise Landscape program hit a milestone with 150 completed projects. These property owners removed pavement, created raingardens, installed pervious driveways and patios, and initiated other projects to conserve landscapes and reduce stormwater runoff. Congratulations!
Through the program, County staff conduct stormwater assessments at each participant’s property and produces a written report listing site-specific recommendations for reducing stormwater runoff. The maximum reimbursement for a residential participants is $2,500.
If you happen to live in Arlington, applications for the 2017 program are being accepted through April 30, 2017. Eligible applicants include single-family homeowners, businesses, houses of worship, and homeowners associations. The program selects 40 residential applicants and 10 non-residential applicants through a lottery system. For more information, visit StormwaterWise Landscape.
Are you aware of innovative environmental programs in your city or town that could be replicated in other locations across the Mid-Atlantic region? Let us know and we’ll help spread the word!