About Stormwater Management

Stormwater describes water that forms during rain events.  Of course the rain has to go somewhere once it falls.  The water that doesn’t soak into the ground runs off the surface (our rooftops and roads are especially good at moving water) to either a creek or into the storm drain (or both!), which eventually leads to another larger waterbody (like San Francisco Bay or the Pacific Ocean).  Before we built our houses and roads, paved sidewalks and parking lots, rainwater would soak into the ground and release it slowly to back to creeks, springs, or remain underground as part of the groundwater table.  With our infrastructure, we’ve unfortunately disrupted this natural system and often accelerate the speed at which the water moves directly into the creeks, bays, and oceans.  This additional runoff accelerates erosion and reduces the time our water would naturally percolate into watersheds to be released to creeks throughout the summer.  With the addition of pollutants like trash or chemical residue from fertilizers or brake pads from cars, we’ve created a fast-moving, unhealthy flow of water.

The County of Marin has a stormwater pollution prevention program to help residents, businesses, municipalities, and others protect our water.  Lots of the tips are easy and have benefits beyond just improving water quality.  They can save money, improve wildlife, or even capture water for use on your property.

Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (MCSTOPPP)

MCSTOPPP is an acronym for the Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program. Formed in 1993, MCSTOPPP is a joint effort of Marin's cities, towns and unincorporated areas. Their goal is to:

  • prevent stormwater pollution
  • protect and enhance water quality in creeks and wetlands
  • preserve beneficial uses of local waterways
  • comply with State and Federal regulations

Though the County and each of the eleven cities and towns carry out their own individual stormwater pollution prevention programs, MCSTOPPP provides for the coordination and consistency of approaches between the individual participants and documents their efforts in annual reports.  These reports include information on illegal discharges, street cleaning efforts, creek maintenance, new development, and other issues of concern.  MCSTOPPP was originally funded by the cities, towns and unincorporated areas whose watersheds drain to San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay. Later, it was expanded to include all Marin watersheds.

For more information about stormwater protection and technical resources, visit the MCSTOPPP website at: http://www.marincounty.org/depts/pw/divisions/mcstoppp