When it rains on areas that don’t allow water to soak into the ground, that creates “stormwater runoff.” Stormwater runoff picks up pollution and carries it to our rivers. Pollutants like litter, fertilizers, pet waste, and sediment damage our local rivers.
RiverSmart Homes can help install features that reduce stormwater runoff. We help install approximately 1,500 features on residential properties each year. That includes rain barrels, trees, and native plant gardens, and removing hard surfaces. Since 2009 DOEE has helped install more than 20,000 features. The US EPAs Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grant funds this program.
We promote equity through an Ambassador Program. Ambassadors focus on outreach and engagement in Wards 7 and 8. We are prioritizing assessments and installations in our underserved neighborhoods.
RiverSmart Homes offers five different features that help reduce stormwater runoff from a property. Participants receive a free stormwater audit, which determines their eligibility for the following :
- Rain Barrels: DOEE will install rain barrels for a copayment of $50 per barrel (limit two rain barrels per property)
- Shade Tree Planting: DOEE plants trees for free (no limit)
- Rain Gardens: DOEE will install rain gardens for a copayment of $100 per 50 square foot rain garden (limit two gardens per property)
- BayScaping: DOEE will install native plant gardens (BayScaping) for a copayment of $100 per 120 square foot BayScape (limit two gardens per property)
- Permeable Pavers and Re-Vegetation: DOEE will reimburse participants for removing large hard-surface areas (like driveways, patios, and parking pads) and replacing it with permeable pavers or vegetation. DOEE reimburses $10 for every square foot converted to permeable pavers and $5 for every square foot converted to vegetation. **This rebate is only for homes within the MS4 sewershed, in Ward 7, or in Ward 8. There is a maximum rebate of $4,000 per property**
- Fill out an online application.
You will then be added to a waitlist for an audit. Once at the top of the waitlist, a DOEE auditor will reach out to schedule an audit of your property. The audit will determine which features RiverSmart Homes can offer your property.
- Large property complexes such as apartments, condominiums, and offices are currently not eligible for RiverSmart Homes. These properties should consider participating in RiverSmart Communities or RiverSmart Rebates.
- Homes that have already received all the features they qualify for are not eligible for additional funding.
RiverSmart Homes offers rebates to residents who install their own rain barrels, shade trees or rain gardens or convert impervious surfaces into permeable pavers or vegetation. Learn more about RiverSmart Rebates,
Benefits of RiverSmart Homes
- Providing beautiful landscaping for properties
- Cost savings on water and electricity
- Reducing heating and cooling bills
- Preventing stormwater runoff from adding pollution to our waterways
- Helping to stabilize slopes and prevent erosion
- Providing increased habitat for native wildlife
- Reducing air pollution
Maintaining RiverSmart Homes Features
If you are already a RiverSmart Homes participant and would like information on how to properly maintain your features, please visit RiverSmartHomes.org
If you have any questions, please see our Frequently Asked Questions page or call (202) 535-2252.
RiverSmart Homes Educational Videos: