On Wednesday, June 18, New Castle County hosted a Best Management Practice (BMP) Maintenance Workshop for employees charged with managing and maintaining the BMPs throughout the County. More than 20 New Castle County employees attended the three hour workshop which consisted of an in-class segment, followed by a hands-on component at a recently installed BMP. The workshop was presented by Shane Morgan, White Clay Creek National Wild and Scenic Rivers Program Manager, and Claudia West, MLA, Ecological Sales Specialist for North Creek Nurseries. This was a pilot workshop, the first in a series of programs we hope to offer to employees of municipal governments, government representatives, landscape contractors, home owner associations, and other organizations interested in learning about why and how we install BMPs, how they function to improve water quality, and how to maintain them so that they operate successfully.
The workshop began with an overview of what a watershed is an how water moves through the landscape, connecting what we do on land with the impact our actions have on water quality and quantity. A more in depth discussion of how plant based BMPs function and look throughout different stages of establishment and seasons, and how to successfully maintain these systems followed. Questions were taken from the attendees in advance of the workshop so that it could be specifically tailored to the needs and concerns of the county employees.
The second part of the workshop took place at a newly installed vegetated bioswale in Hockessin, DE. The group learned how to monitor planted systems and identify problematic invasive plant species in the field. These skills are essential for proper management and the long term success of stormwater management landscapes.
While this workshop focused on municipal owned BMPs, it's equally important that the public understands that best management practices are not limited to government agencies responsible for meeting water quality standards. These practices are just as applicable to individual property owners as well. We all live in a watershed and any individual action taken to improve water quality however small it may seem, whether it's disconnecting a downspout and installing a rain barrel or rain garden, collectively adds up. If we begin to treat stormwater as a resource, instead of the nuisance we currently perceive it to be, together we can accomplish a lot.