Arlington County plans to expand a program that helps cover the costs to property owners who reduce stormwater runoff through practices like rain gardens or replacing pavement with permeable pavers.
The county was awarded an $80,000 grant this week through the Chesapeake Bay Program to expand its StormwaterWise Landscapes Program, which incentivizes such practices. Arlington County Board Vice Chairman Walter Tejada said at the time the county was "delighted" to work with groups dedicated to protecting the bay and its tributaries, and pledged that Arlington would continue to do its part.
The StormwaterWise Landscapes Program launched this year as a pilot program and received about 110 applicants. Forty were chosen through a lottery system.
Applicants must own residential or commercial property in Arlington and commit to implement one of six stormwater reduction practices:
- Conservation landscapes
- Green roofs
- Infiltration trenches and dry wells
- Permeable pavers or concrete
- Rain gardens
Once the projects are complete, the county will reimburse the property owner for 50 percent of the cost up to $500 or $1,000, depending on the project.
The county budgeted about $40,000 for the program in its first year.
Property owners have until Dec. 1 to complete their projects. A few have already done so, said Aileen Winquist, watershed outreach program manager.
Once all of the projects have been completed, Winquist and her colleagues will collect and analyze data on them and formulate recommendations for the county's Office of Sustainability and Environmental Management.
Winquist said the grant could help fund the program for the next two years. Through its evaluation, the county may decide to increase the amount of rebates for certain practices, Winquist said.
Programs like this help the county meet state stormwater regulatory goals, she said. Though the county has implemented several practices on public land, Arlington may simply not have enough public land to meet those goals on its own and will need to have residential and commercial property owners become partners in the effort to reduce runoff.
The county also provides technical support for people who decide to implement green practices.
"A lot of people are interested in rain gardens, for instance, but they're unsure where to put it, even with a lot of information online, and classes and stuff," Winquist said. "With certain things, people just need a little more support."
For more information about the county's StormwaterWise Landscapes Program or any of the individual practices to reduce runoff, visit its website.