Water and Chesapeake Bay

Watershed Restoration & Protection Program

Improving water quality through stormwater management and watershed restoration techniques.

Watershed Restoration Specialists work with local and state governments, watershed organizations, and community groups in Maryland to build partnerships, identify funding sources, and advise/assist in the planning, implementation and monitoring of restoration projects. Specialists facilitate measurable reductions in water pollution in the following ways:

  • Classes and workshops teach homeowners how to improve water quality in their own backyard with practices like rain barrels, rain gardens, and tree planting.
  • Technical Assistance Programs help communities address Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) regulations and requirements.
  • Watershed Restoration Projects emerge from collaborative partnerships and effective funding techniques to reduce nutrient and sediment loads.
  • Watershed Restoration Specialists also connect watershed science to policy makers and community leaders to make the most effective water quality decisions.


"Getting to Know Your Watershed Earth Day 2021 Video"

Programs & Workshops Provided:

Watershed Stewards Academy


Calling all community leaders!

Are you looking to improve local water quality? The Watershed Stewards Academy is a great opportunity to learn how to solve stormwater problems in your community and to join a local network of energized leaders.

This is an adult, evening education program. Stewards will gain hands-on and classroom training in a diverse range of topics including: watershed processes, stormwater best management practice installation and maintenance, native plants, project funding and permitting, community engagement, and much more!

Teachers can receive 5 MSDE credits for completing the program.

For more information, contact Caroline DiGiovanni at 301-475-4484 

Course Information & Application Instructions

This course is offered every other year. Please visit Watershed Stewards Academy for more information about the WSA course and other programs in Maryland. 

Please fill out the form below to be notified when details about the next course in St. Mary's County are available. 

I'm interested in learning more about the St. Mary's County WSA!

Rain Barrel Workshops

Rain Garden Workshops

Environmental Stewardship Event

Backyard Buffers Program

What is the Backyard Buffer Program?

The Backyard Buffer program is supported by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and provides St. Mary's County homeowners free tree seedlings to create a native woodland buffer in their backyard. It is intended for landowners who have a drainage ditch, stream, creek, or river flowing through their property, or live adjacent to such a waterway. This program is for smaller landowners who are not eligible for agriculture cost-share programs. 

More Information about Maryland DNR's Backyard Buffer program

What is a forest buffer?

A forest buffer is an area of vegetation (trees and shrubs) that slow the flow of stormwater runoff, trapping sediment and allowing polluted water to soak into the soil before reaching our waterways.

More Information about Chesapeake Bay Program

What is in a "buffer in a bag"?

The bag includes native tree and shrub, bare-root seedlings, approximately 1-2 feet in height. The species included in the bundles will vary from year to year. 

How do I get my bundle?

Our 2024 Distribution was on April 8-10, 2024. 

To receive notification for next spring's program, sign up use this form.

Thank you for your interest in the Backyard Buffer Program! 


Caroline DiGiovanni
Watershed Restoration Educator