Watershed Protection

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The Watershed Protection/Stormwater Management Section addresses the adverse effects of stormwater runoff associated with new development. Proper management of stormwater runoff will protect property, control stream bank erosion, reduce flooding, protect floodplain and wetlands, protect water resources and riparian and aquatic ecosystems. The proper management of stormwater runoff is essential to maintaining the integrity of our watersheds and our environment. Guilford County’s Stormwater program monitors compliance with stormwater regulations for the unincorporated areas in Guilford County.

Stormwater runoff is the number-one cause of water pollution in North Carolina. As land is developed, the impervious surfaces that are created increase the amount of runoff from rainfall or snowmelt events. Impervious surfaces like rooftops, driveways, sidewalks and streets prevent stormwater runoff from naturally soaking into the ground. Stormwater can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants and flow directly to a stream, river, lake, wetland, or into a stormwater drainage system. Anything that enters a stormwater drainage system is discharged untreated into the water bodies we use for swimming, fishing and providing drinking water.

While awareness and interest in environmental protection exists at the local government and citizen level, the County’s water resources continue to experience degradation. If not managed properly, development in Guilford County could result in the further impairment of these water resources, having a pronounced impact on the quality of life in Guilford County.  Increased stormwater runoff can erode stream channels, increase pollutant loading in surface waters, cause downstream flooding and prevent groundwater recharge. Protecting our water resources is vital for a variety of reasons, including ensuring an adequate supply of safe drinking water, protection of fish and wildlife habitat, human health and recreation. Guilford County is striving to reduce the amount of pollutants carried by stormwater runoff to the community’s lakes and streams. To achieve this goal, Guilford County continuously works to identify and eliminate illicit connections and illegal dumping, educate residents and businesses about various stormwater related issues, and ensure development meets our watershed regulations.