This Memorial Day weekend, for the second time less than a 1,000 days, Ellicott City
Media reports often refer to the floodwaters that surge from the nearby waterways as “natural
The Challenge: The incremental destruction of forests, wetlands, and natural vegitation to create
Ellicott City officials recently noted that since the 2016 flood event, “96 percent of the areas businesses were back in operation and more than 20 new businesses had again opened in the
1. Accelerate the implementation of local watershed restoration and flood abatement plans,
such as the Tiber-Hudson Watershed Plan, while strengthening such plans by bolstering
recommendations calling for natural solutions to flood prevention.
2. Make cost-effective investments in the restoration of our natural defenses—including
wetlands, forests, vegetated stream buffers, living shorelines, and other natural systems—
that reduce the volume and velocity of floodwaters. For example, Howard County’s 2018
capital budget included $1.8 million for flood remediation in Ellicott City and Valley
Mede, but the county needs additional resources to protect and restore natural buffers that
limit the impact of flood events.
3. Incentivize municipal governments to invest in projects that reduce flood risks by
providing state matching grants and low-cost financing through programs like the Water
Quality Revolving Fund. Priority should be given to communities willing to dedicate
local resources towards solutions and low-income communities needing additional
4. Expand the capacity of manmade stormwater infrastructure (grey infrastructure), such as
retention ponds and culverts.
5. Reduce the total amount of impervious surfaces within watersheds, residential zones, and
commercial areas by replacing paved surfaces with pervious green space, pavers, crushed
stone, etc. — and encouraging the adoption of green roofs, rain gardens, and other
technologies that reduce runoff.
6. Provide state and local support to the relocation and resettlement of residents or
businesses threatened by extreme flooding or sea-level rise.
7. Leverage federal, state, local, and private funding streams to invest in infrastructure and
technology that could reduce flood risks across Maryland through innovative partnerships
that finance new flood prevention efforts.
8. Strengthen building and zoning codes to ensure that projects are designed to be climate
resilient and precluding new buildings from being constructed in floodplains. This
includes using storm-resilient building materials, elevating buildings, undergrounding
utility infrastructure, and requiring onsite management of stormwater runoff.
9. Require that updated floodplain maps inform all land use decisions.
10. Ensure lower-income and minority communities do not face disproportionate impacts
from flooding and extreme weather events. Flood prevention is an issue of social and
environmental justice, since too often low-income communities are hit hardest by the
consequences of reckless development.