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Maryland’s Stormwater Management Program: What You Need To Know

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

By Ashley Ellixson

Red tractors (Photo by Edwin Remsberg).

Maryland’s Stormwater Management Program is vast and can be confusing to navigate. Today’s post will be a quick overview of the many facets of Maryland’s Stormwater Management Program and a checklist to determine if you need a stormwater permit and how to go about the process.

Stormwater Management Act

The “Stormwater Management Act” became effective October 1, 2007. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is responsible for implementing the Act and its provisions for improving stormwater management in Maryland. However, the guidelines call for an exemption of agricultural land management practices and any project that does not disturb over 5,000 square feet of land.

Stormwater Management Plan Checklist

1) Is your project agricultural in nature and thus exempted from a stormwater management plan?

a. Does your project consist of “methods and procedures used in the cultivation of land in order to further crop and livestock production and conservation of related soil and water resources?” (Maryland Stormwater Guidelines)

i. If your answer is YES, you fall under the exemption. However it is still wise to go through the entire checklist to make sure you are in compliance.

2) Check with your local Soil Conservation District

a. Does your project require other permits or plans such as an erosion and sediment control plan?

b. Does the cost-share practice you are enrolled in prohibit the type of project you intend to do?

3) Check with your local Planning and Zoning Department

a. Remodel work on your home may be different than remodel work on a barn or business structure, even if the home is on the agricultural land where your farm is located.

b. You may need a home renovation permit even if you live on the farm and the Planning and Zoning Department will be able to help you determine the correct permits required for the project.

Communicate With Your Neighbors

Neighbors in a community garden (Photo by Edwin Remsberg).

An important topic that I did not place in the checklist is communicating with your neighbors. Before you begin any project, you will also want to talk to your neighbors and give them notice of your intended project. This will likely prevent any confusion or anger your neighbors might have when they notice an increase of traffic, dust, and/or noise taking over their once calm rural area. Another reason to discuss any changes you have planned with your neighbor is to keep future complaints to a manageable level. Your worst case scenario would be having your neighbor sue you over an issue that could have been resolved if you had just walked over, knocked on the door, and had a friendly conversation about what your plans were. Being considerate of others and transparent with your surrounding neighbors has many benefits and should definitely be taken seriously.

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