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Student Scientists to Present Assessment of Howard County Watersheds

Howard County Public School System Superintendent Renee A. Foose and Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman joined other county leaders at 9 a.m. on April 25, 2017, at the Watershed Summit hosted by the Howard County Conservancy in Woodstock, Maryland. At the summit, student representatives presented their Watershed Report Card, an assessment of the watersheds that drain Howard County, all of which impact the Chesapeake Bay.

Teams of students from each Howard County public high school reported on their findings from a recently concluded, yearlong study of Howard County streams and watersheds. The student scientists—biology students in grades 9 and 10—studied the biological, chemical and physical aspects of local streams and completed a scientifically rigorous schoolyard assessment. In addition to Howard County’s involvement in the program, 13 other jurisdictions in Maryland are participating in a statewide Watershed Report Card presentation to state leaders at the Miller Senate House on May 10.

Unveiled at the 2017 Summit was a new component to the program, a case study of the 2016 Ellicott City flood. Students evaluated whether the flood was preventable using land-use maps, weather data, and NOAA interactive resources. Students addressed what really caused the severity of the Ellicott City flood and if future development in this watershed should be permitted.

The Watershed Report Card project is a collaboration between Howard County Public School System and the Howard County Conservancy. The program is supported by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.