Urban / Suburban
More than 17 million people live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. As more people move in, more homes, roads and businesses are built. Movement away from city centers to live in bigger houses on larger lots causes forests, farms and other valuable lands to be transformed into subdivisions, shopping centers and parking lots—severely impacting the health of our streams, rivers and the Bay.
Impervious surfaces such as roads, parking lots and rooftops do not allow precipitation to soak into the soil. Instead, water runs off the hardened surfaces and into local rivers, streams and the Bay, picking up pollutants like lawn and garden fertilizers, pet waste, sand and sediment, toxic contaminants and litter along the way. Stormwater running off urban and suburban lands is now the fastest-growing source of pollution to the Bay.
An increasing number of practices and technologies–such as rain gardens, pervious pavement and rain barrels, to name a few–are available to slow down, spread out or soak up precipitation as it runs off the impervious urban and suburban landscape.