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Keyword: stormwater

Action Will Preserve 23 Acres of Developable Land and Protect Local Waterways

Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler and 6th District Councilwoman Cathy Bevins announced the County’s plans to preserve a significant parcel of environmentally sensitive land in Middle River to prevent development, thereby protecting water quality for local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.

The County plans to acquire 23 acres, located on the southwest corner of Bengie’s Road and Bourque Avenue, which is less than a mile from Dark Head Creek and Middle River, and is immediately adjacent to another 28 acres of open space owned by the State of Maryland. Program Open Space acquisition funds will be applied to reimburse the full $100,000 purchase price.

“Preserving rural lands is one of the most effective ways to protect the drinking water supplies for 2.6 million people in the Baltimore region, as well as the water quality of our streams and rivers that flow to the Chesapeake," Mohler said..

"I am always looking for sites around the district for Project Open Space,” said Bevins. “I am thankful for the administration for purchasing this land. This is the latest in a long list of ways we have worked to improve the environment here in Middle River. From dredging the Bird River to preserving open space, I have worked hard to protect and improve the environment.” 

The property is zoned for medium-density residential development and has a recorded 20-lot subdivision. By purchasing this property from Windlass Woods, LLC., the County is guaranteeing its ability to serve as a filter for stormwater, protecting the water quality of Middle River and the Chesapeake Bay. It will be preserved as a forested refuge for wildlife, while offering scenic views in a growing area of the County, near the Baltimore Crossroads mixed-use development.

By Steve Walsh, Director, Baltimore County Public Works

In recent years, Baltimore County has been dumped on. The rains are longer, the storms harder. The waters have caused flooded basements, instant lakes and backyard bayous. People want to know why they’re having water problems they never had before, and they want to know what the County can do about it.

The change in the rain cycle is one of many reasons for the increase in flooding. Various climate sources now document an increase in rainfall over the past 60 years across the country. In our area, the northeast, the amount of precipitation falling during intense, multi-day events increased an astounding 71 percent, say the experts. Since rainfall record-keeping started in 1873, the wettest September was in 2011 (13.32”) and the wettest June was in 2015 (13.09”). The wettest July has been this year, 2018, with 13.36” as of July 24.

But there are other factors.

Modern Environmental Regulations Don’t Protect Some Older Areas

Some of the homes now experiencing flooding problems probably wouldn’t be allowed to be built in those locations today, given current regulations designed to protect the environment and prevent homes from being flooded. Current floodplain setback requirements, environmental buffers and other protective regulations didn’t exist when many of our older, low-lying communities were built.

The development of the storm drainage system - roadside ditches, inlets, pipes and stream systems - was haphazard in some older areas of the county, often an afterthought of the homebuilders. Now, these older communities are left with little protection from increasingly significant rains.

Maintaining Drainage Systems

Baltimore County Public Works maintains and cleans 1,437 miles of storm drains, 51,000 stormwater inlets and 3,600 cross road pipes, bridges and culverts. Our current maintenance activities center on responding to complaints, keeping inlet grates and cross road culverts clean and free flowing, and unclogging pipes when necessary.

These systemic neighborhood-wide stormwater problems cannot be solved overnight. The Department of Public Works will investigate, study and design solutions, and continue discussions with communities about the level of flood protection and costs of reasonable drainage projects.

House-Related Flood Problems

A homeowner can be flooded from a nearby stream, an overwhelmed unseen piped drainage course, an overwhelmed sump pump, or from seepage through the floor or basement walls. The County cannot assist with house related problems.

As rains continue, we suggest homeowners first understand the risk of flooding for their property, and then do their best to protect it. Sometimes site grading or home basement waterproofing improvements can help.

Information can be obtained from knowledgeable experts such as basement waterproofing professionals, engineers and landscapers. Below are some more resources:

  • Find out about local flood plain locations, flood insurance and more. An Interactive Flood Mapping Application along with the instruction sheet is available online.
  • See “Protecting Your Home from Flooding – low-cost projects you can do yourself.” FEMA has lots of online resources at .
  • If there are problems with the public storm drain system in your community, contact the Baltimore County Department of Public Works (DPW) Storm Drain Design Division at 410-887-3711.

Revised October 16, 2020               
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