Watershed Studies

Under Prince George’s County Code Subtitle IV, Group 4, the Department of the Environment has the responsibility to conduct watershed studies in order to:

  1. Determine the magnitude and frequency of potential flood events based on existing conditions;
  2. Determine the magnitude and frequency of potential flood events based on development that is planned for the future;
  3. Define the possible alternative management techniques to control floods and minimize flood damage; and
  4. Identify appropriate stormwater management strategies to alleviate the water quality impacts of land development and stream channel erosion and assist in the attainment and maintenance of water quality standards consistent with Federal, State and County programs and regulations.

The Stormwater Management Technical Group is an interagency technical group consisting of representatives from the Department of the Environment and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which has been formed to study watersheds in the County. These technical studies include analysis of existing and planned land use, watershed hydrology, stream hydraulics, topographic analysis, evaluation of flood hazard mitigation alternatives, pollutant loading analysis, analysis of various water quality control techniques, and the National Pollutant Discharge Eliminate System (NPDES) Program.

The evaluation of flood hazard mitigation alternatives includes the following:

  1. Analysis of the runoff characteristics of both existing and planned development conditions in order to assess the impact of future land development and to aid in the development and evaluation of alternative land use patterns;
  2. Flood insurance;
  3. Flood proofing;
  4. Elevation of structure;
  5. Zoning and local land use regulations;
  6. Flood warning systems;
  7. Acquisition of flood prone structures;
  8. Stormwater management;
  9. Bridge and culvert improvement;
  10. Channelization or channel modification;
  11. Floodwalls;
  12. Levees;
  13. Retention/detention structures;
  14. Stream relocation;
  15. Stream enclosure; and
  16. Combinations of the above.

The above alternatives are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Level of protection of mitigation provided;
  2. Physical, legal and financial constraints;
  3. Environmental impacts, including disturbance of wetlands, benefits to water quality, affect on aesthetics;
  4. Public health and safety; and
  5. State and Federal permit requirements.

A number of watershed studies have been completed and adopted by the County Council. These watershed studies are:

  1. Tinkers Creek (adopted in September, 1980);
  2. Western Branch (adopted in July, 1983);
  3. Piscataway Creek (adopted in July, 1986); and
  4. Henson Creek (adopted in July, 1986).

Other watershed studies which have been completed are:

  1. Folly Branch;
  2. Bald Hill Branch;
  3. Southwest Branch;
  4. Collington Branch;
  5. Charles Branch;
  6. Oxon Run;  
  7. Anacostia River; and
  8. Beaverdam Creek
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