Montgomery County will receive almost $20 million that will fund 15 projects officials hope will filter polluted runoff headed to the Rock Creek and Anacostia River Watersheds.
The announcement was made last week by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The state’s Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund awarded a $19.8 million grant to the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection for the construction of urban stormwater projects including stream restoration, rain gardens, revamped stormwater ponds and dry and wet grass channels.
The Rock Creek Watershed inside the Beltway includes highly developed areas of Bethesda and Chevy Chase, where much of that development occurred before the 1960s and before existing stormwater controls were in place.
According to the Montgomery County DEP, that has “led to unmitigated flows that have damaged Rock Creek and its tributaries.” In 2002, a toxic chemical released into the creek near East-West Highway killed thousands of fish and reached into D.C.
Construction of a stormwater pond at the south end of NIH’s campus is in its final stages. The pond, part of the Lower Rock Creek Watershed, is meant to capture and treat runoff from NIH and 200 acres of Bethesda’s dense Central Business District.
The projects supported by the grant, some of which are underway, will support the retention and creation of an estimated 140 jobs, according to the Department of Natural Resources.