Maryland Sea Grant
Maryland and other states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are currently engaged in a multi-billion dollar effort to improve water quality by meeting Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) targets for nutrients and sediments. To accomplish this, municipalities around the region need help from trained and dedicated volunteers who can implement watershed restoration practices. Such practices include stormwater management tools like rain gardens and barrels.
To build this cadre of community leaders, Maryland Sea Grant Extension has partnered with local governments and non-governmental organizations to create and provide ongoing guidance for four Watershed Stewards Academies.
These academies use an innovative “train-the-trainer” model to educate volunteers from a range of backgrounds in how to plan and find funding for watershed restoration practices. The academies are located in Maryland’s Anne Arundel, Howard, and Cecil counties and in the National Capital region. To graduate from the academies, the “master” watershed stewards participate in 18 months of education, completing 45 to 60 hours of classroom and field training that culminates in both class and capstone projects. As of 2014, the four academies had prepared more than 320 stewards who have gone on to implement stormwater management practices across Maryland.