Stormwater Best Management Practices

This is a Rain GardenStormwater runoff is created when rainfall cannot permeate or filter into the ground or be captured and retained by bodies of water. When rain falls on impermeable surfaces like our driveways, roofs, and roads, the water runs over the environment picking up visible and non-visible pollutants along the way.

In an effort to control stormwater pollution we must consider individual, household, and public behaviors and activities that contribute to these non-point source forms of pollution. Think about it! The following common, individual behaviors have the potential to generate stormwater pollution:

  • Littering
  • Leaving pet waste in a yard or on the street
  • Applying lawn and garden fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides
  • Washing cars in the driveway
  • Changing motor-oil in the driveway
  • Disposing of leftover paint and household chemicals improperly
  • Letting gutter outputs flow over driveways or sidewalks and into storm drains

Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) are control measures a landowner can take to reduce stormwater runoff and pollution from entering our waterways. A BMP can be an action, a structure, or a practice. With land-use change and increased urbanization, more impervious surfaces are created, which then in turn increases the amount of stormwater runoff. When the amount of stormwater runoff increases the quality of the water decreases because more pollutants are picked up across these surfaces. BMPs are designed to reduce the volume of runoff and reduce the influx of non-point source pollutants. There are a variety of BMPs a land owner can consider, but ultimately the site itself will dictate what BMP is best suited to address the actual needs and capabilities of the land.

Some BMPs that can be installed through the cost share programs include:

  • Rain Garden DiagramRain gardens
  • Cisterns
  • Backyard Wetlands
  • Tree Plantings
  • Pervious Pavement


It takes individual behavior change and proper practices to reduce or eliminate stormwater pollution. NHSWCD believes it is important for us to educate the Cisterncommunity on the pollution potential of some of these common activities, and increase the awareness of the direct link between land activities, rainfall-runoff, storm drains, and our local water resources. Through information sharing and education, we can work together to change these behaviors and preserve our waters.

NHSWCD has helped install numerous BMPs throughout the county through various funding opportunities. The map here highlights many of the BMPs that have been installed throughout the county.

Check out the gallery to see pictures of these projects. Please click the following for more information about our main funding source, the Soil and Water Conservation District exclusive program started right here in New Hanover County called CCAP, or the Community Conservation Assistance Program (see below for more information). For additional resources on BMPs and what you can do to help promote better environmental practices view the EPA's - National Menu of Stormwater Best Management Practices or visit the About Us page.

NHSWCDs Community Conservation Assistance Program BMPs