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Reviving Urban Streams


Planting the Seeds for Sustainability: How to Revive Our Streams One Small Step at a Time

Our local urban and suburban streams suffer from pollutants, trash and massive amounts of stormwater runoff. By working to improve the health of our streams, we can also improve the state of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers—as well as the Chesapeake Bay.

The article below reviews Montgomery County’s efforts to revive urban streams, how the county will be relying more and more on private landowners to help, and offers some ways residents and landowners can pitch in—by reducing and slowing down stormwater runoff flows.

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To Revive Urban Streams, Think Small


By Dan Kulpinski

(Originally published in the Audubon Naturalist News, Winter 2010, Vol. 36, No. 1. Excerpt reprinted with permission from the Audubon Naturalist Society)

You know their names, and you likely live near one of them: Cabin John Creek, Little Falls, Lower Rock Creek, Sligo Creek, Four Mile Run, and Difficult Run. At one time, these streams and dozens of others criss-crossing our region were considered fishable and swimmable by the nearly one million people who lived in the Washington, DC metro area in the early 1940s.

Then the post-World War II building boom hit. And streams, in the way and prone to flood, were often captured in large pipes and buried. Forest buffers were cut, leading to severe erosion of what was left above ground.

Turns out those streams are as important to our drinking water and the health of the Chesapeake Bay as arteries are to a human heart. So, how can we revive these urban and suburban streams? If the downfall was due to a thousand small cuts, the fix may be a thousand small repairs.

-- Download Full Article

-- Discuss this article on the Bethesda Green blog

-- Attend our Stormwater Solutions Panel Discussion, Tuesday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m.

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Upcoming Events in March


Planting Seeds for Sustainability

  • Tuesday, Mar. 9, noon - 1:30 pm -- Lunchtime Discussion with Jennifer Kaplan, author of "Greening Your Small Business." Get more info, read an interview with her, or visit her website,

  • Friday, Mar. 12, 8 am - 9:30 am -- Tour Montgomery County Public Schools' Central Kitchen and Food Warehouse in Rockville.  Space limited, click here for details.

  • Tuesday, Mar. 16, 7 - 9 pm -- Storm Water Solutions panel discussion.  Learn about storm water management issues and what you can do to improve conditions in our local watershed.  Rain garden installation featured.  Get more info.

  • Thursday, Mar. 25, 4 - 5:30 pm -- Bethesda Green 101, an orientation for newcomers, young and old, covering our history, upcoming events, and volunteer opportunities.
  • Saturday, Mar. 27, 11 am - 3 pm -- Fields of Green Internship Fair at the Bethesda Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, half a block from the Bethesda Metro station.




Planting Seeds for Sustainability: Learn how you can help revive the streams in Montgomery County, Md. In order to make our communities and streams more sustainable, landowners can take certain actions to help reduce and slow down stormwater runoff--and to prevent pollutants from flowing into our streams. Working for sustainability in this way can help improve our streams, as well as the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay--and help the fisheries in those waters rebound.

Copyright 2013 by Bethesda Green