Watershed Studies

The Charter for Prince George’s County Maryland, Schedule of Legislation, Section 11 (Department of the Environment) assigns Department of the Environment responsibility for overall administration and coordination of the County's environmental policies and programs including flood management planning.  The Department may conduct and update watershed studies to:

  • Determine the magnitude and frequency of potential flood events based on existing conditions.
  • Determine the magnitude and frequency of potential flood events based on development that is planned for the future.
  • Define the possible alternative management techniques to control floods and minimize flood damage.
  • 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.


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:

  • Acquisition of flood prone structures
  • 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
  • Bridge and culvert improvement
  • Channelization or channel modification
  • Elevation of structure
  • Flood insurance
  • Flood proofing
  • Flood warning systems
  • Floodwalls
  • Levees
  • Retention/detention structures
  • Stormwater management
  • Stream enclosure
  • Stream relocation
  • Zoning and local land use regulations
  • Combinations of the above


The above alternatives are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Environmental impacts, including disturbance of wetlands, benefits to water quality, affect on aesthetics
  • Level of protection of mitigation provided
  • Physical, legal and financial constraints
  • Public health and safety
  • State and federal permit requirements


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

  • Henson Creek (adopted in July, 1986)
  • Piscataway Creek (adopted in July, 1986)
  • Tinkers Creek (adopted in September, 1980)
  • Western Branch (adopted in July, 1983)


Other watershed studies which have been completed are:

  • Anacostia River
  • Bald Hill Branch
  • Beaverdam Creek
  • Charles Branch
  • Collington Branch
  • Folly Branch
  • Oxon Run
  • Southwest Branch