Using Best Management Practices (BMPs) that effectively control urban stormwater runoff flow and reduce levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment in stormwater runoff is integral to meeting water quality goals in local streams and downstream in the Chesapeake Bay. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists are working in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and local county partners to better understand how well BMPs presence, type, and spatial pattern (in general, centralized or distributed use) moderate the amount of stormwater running off into streams and how well the BMPs remove pollutants (including excess nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment).
Studies are focused in Montgomery County, Maryland in the Clarksburg Special Protection Area
, including Tributary 104, Soper Branch, Crystal Rock, and Ten Mile Creek.
USGS scientists create geographic databases to map BMP type, location, and connectivity, and land use in the area. Streams in the study areas are monitored to collect information on stream flow and the amount of pollutants including nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment that originate from urban landscapes with different types and levels of stormwater management and land use. The results of this research help scientists understand the effect of how BMPs are used in the watershed (distributed versus centralized ) for the reduction of stormwater runoff and the amounts of pollutants (nutrients and sediment) in that stormwater runoff draining to streams.