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Help Protect Our Streams

Montgomery County is vibrant and diverse with a variety of activities for all. With over 1,500 miles of streams in the County, recreational opportunities are abundant. All of us play a role in ensuring that our communities and streams continue to thrive.

Can you imagine what would happen if each and every one of the more than 1 million County residents pledged to do one thing to help our local streams? You don't necessarily need to spend extra money or time--the key is planning ahead and determining how to change your habits to make a difference.

Small actions such as planting native plants in our gardens or volunteering with a local watershed group can have positive and long-lasting impacts on our streams and watersheds! Take advantage of the host of opportunities listed on the links to the right.

Image of community volunteers marking storm drains with information about illegal dumping.

Stream Stewards Volunteer Program

As a Stream Steward you will help educate County residents on the importance of their habits to the health of local rivers and streams.

Image of a Stream Steward educating a student.

 

Stream Stewards are active year round throughout the County. They provide assistance to several DEP programs including the RainScapes, Green Streets and the Stormwater Facility Maintenance Program. Stream Stewards serve as a voice for DEP so that County residents can feel empowered and educated on environmental issues.

Participation in an orientation session is required in order to become a Stream Steward volunteer.

 

Benefits of Joining the Stream Stewards Program:

♦  Training with DEP outreach staff on environmental topics

♦   Service learning hours for students

♦   Flexible hours and events, including weekends and evenings

♦   A variety of projects, including tabling for events, hands-on service projects and office work

 

The following volunteer opportunities are available with the Stream Stewards Program:

  • Watershed Ambassadors: Watershed ambassadors assist DEP at outreach events throughout the County. Volunteers will help staff information tables and help with RainScapes events. Events occur year-round on weekdays, weekends, and evenings.

  • Watershed Speakers: Speakers represent DEP at speaking engagements throughout the County. Volunteers will also seek out speaking engagements to further DEP’s mission.

  • Image of Stream Stewards at a trash pick-up event.Watershed Keepers: Watershed keepers help DEP by adopting projects on public property, such as green street practices, tree plantings, or trash clean ups. Adoption of a project may require routine visual inspection, removing trash or debris, and weeding as necessary. Volunteers will communicate with DEP staff any major issues with their adopted project, as instructed during project-specific training.

  • Stream Monitoring Volunteer Internships: Interns work with stream monitoring crews to collect biological, physiochemical, and habitat data needed to assess stream health. For additional information, visit the internship page.

For additional information about volunteer opportunities with the Stream Stewards Volunteer Program, please fill out the form below. If you cannot read the form, or need to speak to someone directly, call the Montgomery County Customer Service Center at 3-1-1 or send an email to Stream.Stewards@montgomerycountymd.gov.

 

Fill out my online form.

FrogWatch 

Montgomery County is a new chapter in the nationwide FrogWatch USA program! Our chapter is an exciting new way for individuals and families to participate in citizen science and to learn more about amphibians and the wetlands they live in. 

 

Logo of FrogWatch USAWhat is FrogWatch USA?

FrogWatch USA is a nation-wide volunteer frog and toad monitoring program run by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Volunteers are trained to identify frog and toad calls at a wetland site and to repbort their data online. Data is compiled and analyzed to develop conservation strategies for frog and toad species, and their habitat.  

Interested in hearing frog and toad calls? Visit our Frogs and toads biology page. 

 

Image of a Fowler's ToadWhy are Frogs and Toads Important?

Frogs and toads are pollution sensitive organisms and are indicators of environmental health. Frogs and toads are both predators and prey, serving an important role in aquatic food webs. As predators, tadpoles help clean waterways by feeding on algae and adult frogs and toads feed on insects that can be pests and transmit diseases, such as mosquitoes. They also serve as a food source for many other organisms

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Volunteer Commitments:

Montgomery County will provide two volunteer training sessions, one before the monitoring season and one during. Throughout the breeding season from February to August, we ask that you commit to monitoring a wetland site for a three minute period 30 minutes after sunset weekly. You have the option of monitoring a pre-registered site by the County or registering your own site.

 

Tell Me More!

Visit the County's official FrogWatch page to learn more about participating in the program and to view photos of frogs and toads.   

The video below provides a great introduction to FrogWatch USA, the nationwide program that the County is a chapter of.  Although the video focuses on the Cleveland chapter, it is a nice way to learn about citizen science and the basics of FrogWatch.  

 

 

 

Caching the Rain Geocache Trail

Want to get out in the community, get some exercise, use your brain and help spread the word about stormwater?  You should be geocaching!

Geocaching is when you use GPS devices to find hidden containers called "geocaches".  Geocaches are hidden around the region, country and the world, by geocaching clubs, nonprofits and other institutions.  Montgomery County DEP has joined the over 2 million geocaches worldwide by launching its first ever geocache program called Caching the Rain!

 

Image of friends geocaching together

 

What is Caching the Rain?

Caching the Rain is a geotrail.  A geotrail is a series of geocaches that are linked together by a common theme.  The County's Caching the Rain geotrail is focused on stormwater awareness and there are 6 geocaches hidden in the County near stormwater management practices, such as ponds or bioretention facilities. It is the goal of the geocacher to find each of the geocaches on the trail. 

 

Interested in Geocaching?

You can get started today!  Learn more about geocaching and how to participate by visiting our Caching the Rain geotrail website at:

www.montgomerycountymd.gov/geocache

 

 

Additional Volunteer and Educational Opportunities

 

Watershed Groups

Local watershed groups are a great resource for volunteers. Montgomery County Watershed groups were created by everyday citizens. Each watershed groups’ mission is to protect a local watershed located right here in Montgomery County.

Local watershed groups work in specific areas of the County to clean and maintain local rivers and streams. They educate communities on the importance of protecting local waters. In addition, they encourage everyone to adopt good practices to protect water quality.

Your involvement in any of these groups can range from a few hours to joining their board of directors; it is all up to you. Groups are always looking for volunteers to help with things such as stream clean-ups, invasive plant removal, storm drain marking, and many other activities. By becoming involved with a local watershed group you will learn more about your local waters.

Not sure which watershed you are located in, no problem, search for your neighborhood in our interactive watershed map and find out! Once you find your local watershed, explore your watershed group’s website to see how you can help. If a group doesn’t exist in your local watershed, create one!

Below you will find an alphabetical listing of watershed groups working to protect our streams:

 

Regional Nonprofits

In addition to watershed groups, there are numerous groups working to promote a healthy and vibrant environment right here in the County. Although their main mission may not specifically state that they protect our local streams, their work is very important in protecting our local streams.

Below you will find an alphabetical listing of some of these organizations:

 

Government Programs

Government programs also exist that help protect our local waters. You can participate in these programs by organizing a group of family and friends or by organizing an activity via one of the local groups in your area. 

 

Adopt a Road

Montgomery County's Adopt A Road (AAR) program encourages residents and businesses in the County to participate in a community activity by keeping our roadsides litter free.

Currently there are more than 1,000 volunteers who have adopted over 350 road segments, cleaning over 600 miles of road in an effort to Keep Montgomery County Beautiful.

 

Storm Drain Marking

Image of storm drain marker.

Storm drain markers help educate the public about our storm drain system. In Montgomery County the storm drains go directly into our rivers. Stormwater carries pollutants such as litter, pet waste, fertilizers, leaking autofluids, or anything that ends on the ground directly into our waterways through storm drains.

The storm drain markers are installed quickly and easily using permanent adhesive. Help change behavior by organizing a storm drain marking project. Get support from the County’s Storm drain Marking Program to remind people that street litter flows directly into local waterways and organize your own storm drain marking event. Materials are provided via the Storm Drain Marking program.

 

M-NCPPC Volunteer Center (Montgomery Parks Volunteer Center)

The M-NCPPC volunteer center serves as a resource for volunteers interested in volunteering for Parks. The site allows you to explore volunteer opportunities, create and manage your own volunteer record, and apply for volunteer jobs via Parks.

Image of the Audubon Naturalist Society at the annual H2O Summit
 
 
 

In addition, the Montgomery County Volunteer Center provides a searchable database of volunteer opportunities available throughout Montgomery County. To find opportunities related to water protection, you can utilize key words that relate to your interest such as: environment, water, rivers, and streams.

 

 

Image of kids at the 2013 H2O Summit

H2O Summit

The annual H2O Summit is a family friendly event that provides a way to introduce and connect residents to their local watershed associations, volunteerism, green exhibitors and watershed improvement activities occurring in their communities.

A major goal of the H2O Summit is to raise awareness about stream health and the effects of stormwater pollution on our ecosystem. Most importantly, it encourages residents to get involved!

Clean water is the theme and focus of the event, and we want you to understand how you and your family are the cornerstones for healthy streams and watersheds.

 


The 2015 H2O Summit is Still in Development!

Stay tuned....

 

 

What Happens at the H2O Summit?

The Summit involves 2 main components:

  • Educational Seminars

  • Family Friendly activities and exhibits

Past educational topics have included learning about the Watershed Stewards Academy, Green Streets program, the RainScapes Program, Weed Warriors, and working with diverse cultures in programming environmental activities.

Bus ad promoting the 2011 H2O Summit

 

There is something for everyone! Younger attendees can visit fun exhibits like the Recycling craft table, the Rainy Day display, or Enviroscape Model while adult attendees can learn about businesses that provide eco-friendly lawn service, see residential rain barrels demonstrations or the newest trends in Eco-Smart cars. There is much to see and do.

 

 

Summit partners have included the Cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg, Montgomery Parks, University of Maryland Extension, and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC). The first H2O summit was held in 2011 through a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

 

View Pictures of Last Year’s Summit: