Stormwater runoff from urban and suburban areas is the fastest growing source of Bay pollution. Stormwater runoff is excess rain and snow melt that is not absorbed into the ground and flows into local waterways and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. Stormwater runoff includes trash and debris, oil from parking lots, pesticides from lawns, sediment, and other pollutants. Impervious surfaces like roads, buildings, and parking lots increase the amount of runoff collecting pollutants and flowing into our waterways.
Eliminating or reducing the impact of impervious surfaces on forests, wetlands, parks, and conservation areas can preserve the Bay’s natural buffers and help protect waterways from runoff. Stormwater runoff in agricultural areas is also a large contributor to chemical, nutrient, and sediment pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Implementing on-the-ground management practices, such as stream buffers and cover crops can help reduce runoff flowing off agricultural lands and into waterways.