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Frequently Asked Questions

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What kind of watershed planning initiatives have taken place in Frederick County?

  • Visit the Publications/Maps/Data page of this website to view additional Frederick County Watershed Assessments and Restoration and Retrofit Assessments

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Can you protect your property with a conservation easement? Or find out about volunteering for a local/regional land trust?

  • Contact:
    • Anne Bradley , Frederick County Planning - Agricultural Preservation at 301.600.2513
    • Don Briggs, President, Catoctin Land Trust at 301.447.3110
    • Potomac Conservancy at 301.608.1188

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How do I get more information about restoring local streams by planting native trees along their banks? Or apply for state and federal programs to protect degraded waterways?

  • Contact:
    • Mike Kay, Maryland State Forester at 301.473.8417

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How do I find out more about site design/construction? Or testify at public hearings in support of cultural and natural resource protection and codes and ordinances that encourage conservation design and low impact development? Or report construction sites that are not in compliance with sediment and erosion control regulations?

  • Contact:
    • Gary Hessong, Frederick County Development Review at 301.600.2028
    • Steve Fellers, Environmental Compliance at 301.600.3511
    • Low Impact Development Center

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Where can I get more information about stormwater management/illicit discharges? Or how can I install a rain garden in my neighborhood? Or place rain barrels at the end of my gutters? Or upgrade and maintain my septic system? Or report illicit discharges?

  • Contact:
    • Interstate Commission for the Potomac River Basin at 301.984.1908 for rain barrel information
    • Shannon Moore, Frederick County Office of Sustainability & Environmental Resources Manager at 301.600.1413 for stormwater management questions

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How can I learn more about conservation landscaping? Or discover ways to make your yard “Bay Wise” with native plantings, rain gardens, compost bins and more.

  • Contact:
    • Susan Trice , Frederick County Master Gardeners Program at 301.600.1596 about the "Bay Wise" program
    • Phil Harris, Frederick County Recycling Program at 301.600.2960

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How can I get involved? Or volunteer for community events and programs that support watershed conservation?

  • Contact:
    • Jeff Feaga , Community Restoration Coordinator, Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance at 301.600.1350

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What protections does Frederick County have for streams?

The County's  Subdivision Regulations and Zoning Ordinance regulate land use, subdivision of land, and site development. In August 2008, Frederick County adopted  (Ordinance 08-21-497) new stream and waterbody protections in the form of an expanded setback and buffer that apply to any property undergoing subdivision, whether a 2-lot commercial division or a 500-lot residential project. 
Three tiers of buffer were established, depending on the extent and grade of slope present within a defined stream corridor area:  100 feet;  150 feet;  175 feet.  No grading or structures are allowed within this new buffer.  Utilities, trails, roads, and stormwater management  are allowed under some conditions with justification and an evaluation of alternatives. Stream protection regulations are slightly different for lands in the watershed  (the “Linganore Watershed Protection Area”) draining into Lake Linganore, a drinking water reservoir and recreational lake, to help address the Lake’s sediment and nutrient  impairments, called Total Maximum Daily Load.

Development proposed on existing lots or parcels (those not being further subdivided into smaller lots) must meet the 50-ft. stream setback:  "A minimum setback of twenty-five (25) feet shall be provided from all floodplain boundaries; or fifty (50) feet from the bank of any perennial or intermittent stream, whichever is greater, shall be maintained or planted with natural vegetation."

For more information, visit the Division of Planning's web site:

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What laws exist to deal with dumping and junk piles?

Section 1-11-5 of the Frederick County Code addresses junk cars, dumping, and illegal disposal of refuse and debris.  The Division of Planning and the Frederick County Health Department jointly enforce the 'Nuisance Ordinance'.  These two government departments respond to written complaints and perform site inspections to check for violations of the Nuisance Ordinance.

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What should I do or who should I contact if I discover an illegal dumpsite?

Dumpsites in and along waterways containing debris such a old tires, old tvs, car parts, animal carcasses, old furniture, etc. fall under the purview of the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), specifically Solid Waste. If you become aware of such a site in Frederick County, please contact MDE's Western Maryland office at 301.665.2810. Additional contact numbers can be found here. Each littering offense can carry a sentence of as much of five years in prison and a fine of $30,000, and each water pollution charge can carry a sentence of as much as a year in prison and a fine of $25,000.

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Who do I contact if I have a drainage complaint?

If you have a problem with stormwater drainage within the road right-of-way or a roadside drainage ditch, contact Frederick County's Department of Highway Operations at 301.600.1555. If you have a problem with any other type of drainage contact Frederick County's Department of Permitting and Development Review at 301.600.1137.

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Who do I contact about nuisance, injured or sick wildlife?

To report nuisance, injured, or sick wildlife call toll free 1.877.463.6497 (Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-4:30 pm). For more information please contact:

Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Wildlife and Heritage Service
Tawes State Office Building, E-1
Annapolis, MD 21401
Toll free in Maryland: 1.877.620.8DNR, Ext. 8540

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Emergency Numbers for Pollution in Maryland

Pollution Problem
Air Pollution Violations
Toll free 866.633.4686/866.MDEGOTO
Fish Kills and Algae Blooms
Hazardous Material and Oil Spills
Public Sewer Leaks/Overflows
Public Water Supply Problems
Radiation Accidents or Safety Violations
Sediment, Wetland, Mining & Agriculture
Underground Tank Leaks
Daily Air Quality Report (Recording)
Drought Hotline (Toll free)
Recycling Hotline (Recording)

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Who do I contact if I find sick or dead birds?

Farmers are the best protection for their animals. All poultry growers and owners of livestock, birds, and other animals are encouraged to look for signs of illness in their animals, report sick animals, and practice biosecurity. Biosecurity means doing everything possible to protect animal health by preventing the transmission of disease. Taking common sense precautions to prevent disease from coming onto a farm is the cornerstone of keeping livestock and poultry healthy.

It is important to look for and report signs of illness immediately. Don't wait. Call your private veterinarian, your local Maryland Coorperative Extension agent, the Maryland Department of Agriculture/State Veterinarian, the USDA Veterinary Services office (866.536.7593) or the USDA Area Veterinarian in Charge (410.349.9708).

Additional Information:

USDA Veterinary Services
MDA Biosecurity
Answers to Commons Questions about Avian Influenza for Poultry Growers

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How do I report fish kills, bad water events, etc.?

The Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) asks that individuals who see an accumulation of dead fish in waters of the state report it through any of the contact numbers below:

Maryland Department of the Environment
Science Services Administration
Fish Kill Investigation Section
416 Chinquapin Round Road, Annapolis, MD 21401

Normal work hours: 1.800.285.8195

After hours: 1.877.224.7229  or 1.866.633.4686

The annual summary may be obtained by contacting Chris Luckett at 443.482.2731

Please call 1.866.666.9620 to report instances of fish kills, bad water events, etc. to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) in order to catalog instances of such events.




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