Planting trees along waterways as buffers filters out pollutants and provides food, shade and habitat for fish and wildlife.








Volunteer to plant a "rain garden" to trap runoff from a parking lot. This "bioretention" site is more effective and attractive than conventional stormwater management facilities. Stormwater runoff can severely erode stream banks and damage stream habitat.

In your community

Every Marylander lives in a watershed. All of your activities on the land -- at home, at work, at school -- can affect your neighborhood creeks, streams, rivers and, eventually, the Chesapeake Bay. You can help protect and restore our waterways so they can continue to provide clean drinking water, habitat for fish and wildlife and lots of recreational opportunities.


Get involved! Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Organize or participate in a stream cleanup.
  • Plant a tree, especially along a waterway. Don't forget to care for it.
  • Join your local watershed organization or Tributary Team. Your local Tributary Team is working to improve water quality in your community, and the team involves citizens just like you. Call 410-260-8710 to learn about the team near you.


Some programs of interest include…

  • TREE-Mendous Maryland: Here's a gift that will continue to give for generations to come. TREE-Mendous Maryland, a Department of Natural Resources program in cooperation with the Chesapeake Bay Trust, plants trees in designated groves to increase greenways and natural habitats as well as to buffer waterways. For $25, a tree can be planted to commemorate a special event or to honor the memory of a loved one, and a gift certificate suitable for framing will be mailed to the recipient in your name. Call 410-260-8531 for more information.
  • Landowner Stewardship Referral Service: This free, voluntary program offered by the Department of Natural Resources connects landowners who want to improve the natural resources on their property with organizations seeking sites for conservation activities. A natural resources expert will help you identify target areas on your property, decide what activities will best meet your needs, and register your property as a potential site for tree planting, wetland restoration, streambank stabilization or wildlife habitat improvement. Projects often qualify for cost-share, tax incentives or other funding opportunities. For more information, call 1-800-989-8852.
  • Stream ReLeaf: A result of Governor Glendening's pledge to reforest 600 miles of Maryland streamsides by the year 2010, the Stream ReLeaf program works to create and restore streamside forests along waterways. Streamside forests improve water quality and wildlife habitats and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. Want to plant trees along your local creek or stream? Contact your Department of Natural Resources' regional forester for more information: Central Region (including Baltimore City and County): 410-836-4551; Eastern Region: 410-543-6749; Southern Region: 301-464-3065 and Western Region: 301-777-2137.
  • Bay Grass Restoration: The Bay Grass Restoration Partnership is an effort coordinated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in which citizens, watermen and researchers work together to restore bay grasses to Maryland's tidal waters. Bay grasses are important because they provide oxygen as well as food and habitat for a variety of Bay creatures, including crabs, fish and waterfowl. For more information, contact Tom Parham at 410-260-8630.
  • Let's Be Partners... Water Pollution: What We Can Do to Reduce and Prevent It: This initiative uses hands-on activities to teach alternative actions that can be taken to reduce the flow of nutrients, sediment and toxins into neighborhood streams, drinking water reservoirs and the Bay. Call Jeanne Armacost at 410-887-4488 x251.


Who ya gonna call?

Want to help, but you're still not sure where to go or whom to call? Here's a list of some statewide organizations that offer plenty of opportunities for you to get involved. Also, you might want to check out some of the Web sites listed on the back of this booklet.

For local information, visit the Tributary Teams Web site at or e-mail

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

410-377-6270 •

Chesapeake Bay Foundation


Clean Water Action

410-235-8808 •

The Nature Conservancy


Nonpoint source pollution... what's that?
It's easy to see the pollution that comes out of a pipe. Equally important, however, is pollution that comes from countless small sources all over the landscape: runoff from farm fields and suburban lawns; sediment from construction sites; and contaminants from septic systems that can leach into groundwater.

These sources of pollution are called nonpoint sources, and Maryland's Nonpoint Source Program is helping to control them. This program receives federal funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to promote technical assistance, environmental education and training, demonstration projects, technology transfers and monitoring projects.

The program also sets out a strategy and an implementation plan for reducing nonpoint sources of pollution through its Nonpoint Source Management Plan. Citizens can offer input on the plan through the Tributary Teams and environmental organizations. You can also participate by contacting Julie Gouker, Outreach Coordinator, Nonpoint Source Program at 410-260-8730 or by visiting the program's website at

Local governments are doing their parts as well. All major municipalities in the Bay watershed have programs to address nonpoint pollution in their backyards.


Managing Maryland's coastal zones
The coastal zone is a unique and complicated place where land, water, and people interact. In Maryland, this zone includes: the Atlantic shore; coastal bays; more than 3,000 miles of shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries; the open waters of the Bay and its rivers; and the towns, cities and counties that contain and help govern the coastline. The coastal zone encompasses 66 percent of the state's land area, an area of enormous economic and ecological value.

The Maryland Coastal Zone Management Program is a partnership among federal, state and local governments that balances economic development and resource protection. The program focuses on: preserving and protecting coastal resources; building sustainable coastal communities; protecting the public interest; safety and welfare in natural hazard areas; promoting coordination among federal, state and local governments; and providing opportunities for public input.

For more information contact, Mary Conley, Coastal Zone Management Team Leader at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, 410-260-8984, e-mail:

What is a watershed?
What is a watershed?

A watershed is the land that water flows across or under on its way to a stream, river or bay. When it rains, water seeps into the ground and flows across the land surface, eventually draining to a low point -- such as a wetland, creek or bay. All the land area that drains to this low point is defined as its watershed.

Watersheds come in many different shapes and sizes. The Chesapeake Bay watershed stretches across parts of six states, extends 64,000 square miles and is home to 14 million people. Like all large watersheds, the Bay's watershed is made up of thousands of smaller watersheds that drain into its tributaries. For example, the Monocacy River watershed is part of the larger Potomac River Watershed, which in turn is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

In Maryland, nearly 95 percent of the state is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. To develop regional nutrient reduction plans, the state divided its Bay watershed into 10 Tributary basins (see map, above). Tributary Teams, made up of local residents in each of these basins, are working to protect water quality and habitat.

Wherever you live, you live in a watershed. That means the actions you take affect the water in your local stream, as well as downstream from you. As this booklet shows, there are many things you can do to keep your watershed healthy.

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