March 10, 2015
Last week I introduced you to Lands Green, Waters Clean – an Izaak Walton League program to install conservation landscaping, rain gardens, and canopy trees on yards in the Muddy Branch watershed. Today I’ll dig a little deeper and share more details about the first steps in that process so you’ll have a good idea of what to expect.
The first step is to determine whether your home is in the Muddy Branch watershed. (What’s a “watershed”? It’s the area of land that drains into a particular water body.)
This is important, because the Lands Green, Waters Clean program is offering free landscaping to select homes in the Muddy Branch watershed. You may know the Muddy Branch – it’s a stream that starts in Gaithersburg and flows seven miles southwest into the Potomac River and from there to the Chesapeake Bay. Up around Gaithersburg, the stream quality is poor due to heavy development in that area. Developed areas mean more hard surfaces – roads, parking lots, driveways – and rainwater travels much faster over those, gathering dirt and pollution and ending up, unfortunately, in the Muddy Branch.
So here’s how to check whether you are in the Muddy Branch watershed: go to the Montgomery County Environmental Protection Web site. From the menu on the right, click on “Find Your Watershed.” A map of watersheds in the county will load. Below the map, click on “View Larger Map.” Type your address in the bar at the top of the map and wait for your address to be located. You can click on the label that pops up to learn about the watershed. You can also visit the Lands Green, Waters Clean Web site for a map of the Muddy Branch watershed.
Once you’ve confirmed that you live in the Muddy Branch watershed, visit the Lands Green, Waters Clean Web site and click on “Yes, send an expert to my yard!” Fill in the blanks and we’ll confirm your request and set up an appointment to come out to see you. Step one, done!
Next post: In the ‘Hood, Looking under the Hood
 Not in the Muddy Branch watershed? You can still get a site visit (aka, landscape audit). The cost for visits outside the Muddy Branch watershed is $60, and you will not be eligible for free landscaping through the Lands Green, Waters Clean program. But it’s still worthwhile to convert your yard into a more sustainable landscape that’s attractive to birds and butterflies!