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Through the Watershed Protection and Restoration Fund, Charles County is improving local streams and waterways and reducing the impact of stormwater. The program is funded through a Stormwater Remediation Fee on your property tax bill but you can get up to a 50% credit by applying approved stormwater management solutions to your property. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to do this is by adding two rain barrels to your property. The rain barrels need to be big enough to collect a combined 110 gallons of rainwater to qualify.

Rain barrels offer a multitude of benefits but the most impactful is reduced stormwater pollution. Rainwater that travels from roofs, streets, and flooded areas carries chemicals, fertilizers, animal waste, and trash into local waterways. Capturing rainwater from your roof can also reduce flooding and erosion and lessen the severity of heavy rainfall on your property. Using water stored in rain barrels can reduce your water bill and using it for your garden and landscaping instead of county water means there’s more available that’s better suited for human use. 

Charles County Government and the University of Maryland Extension Program offer Rain Barrel Workshops throughout the year. More information and upcoming events can be found here.

Projects to Get You Off the Grid edited by Noah Weinstein

Instructables is back with this compact book focused on a series of projects designed to get you thinking creatively about thinking green. Twenty Instructables illustrate just how simple it can be to make your own backyard chicken coop, or turn a wine barrel into a rainwater collector.

Illustrated with dozens of full-color photographs per project accompanying easy-to-follow instructions, this Instructables collection utilizes the best that the online community has to offer, turning a far-reaching group of people into a mammoth database churning out ideas to make life better, easier, and in this case, greener, as this volume exemplifies.