Print Media Library

Presentations, Fairs & Festivals, and Print Media


Each year, staff reaches hundreds of students and residents by providing FREE presentations and hands on activities. These presentations can be customized to your audience's interests as long as the topic is related to stormwater, water quality, volunteering, and flooding. The majority of our presentations are provided to school groups each year, but we also present to homeowner associations, commercial interest groups, and civic groups.

We offer presentations that include hands-on activities for schools. We can modify these presentations and activities to fit specific interests, curriculum, and/or school schedules.

Please see our educational offerings by grade level below:

Additional offerings include:

  • "Project Wet Workshops" are available for teachers who are looking to provide interactive water education to students. 
  • "Monitoring Water Quality" with Schools provides presentations, videos and resources for your students to learn about monitoring a stream's chemistry, habitat and/or biology. 
  • Custom surface water quality presentations are available upon request to civic groups. These presentations can be customized to address the topic most relevant to the audience. Common requests come from churches, Homeowner Associations, industry groups, and environmental groups. 
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Certified Site Inspector (CMCSI) classes provide presentations and a test covering the methods that must be used to control erosion on construction sites and prevent sedimentation of streams and lakes. While these classes target the construction industry, they are open to the public. See CMCSI for more information.

To sign up for a presentation please contact one of our educators: Ashley Smith or Sharnelle G Currence

Fairs and Festivals

Staff reaches thousands of residents through their attendance at community fairs and events that include, but are not limited to Earth Day events, the Realty Expo, UNCC STEM Education Day, GIS Day, UNCC Weatherfest, Career Days, and Science Fairs. Please contact one of our educators, Ashley Smith or Sharnelle G Currence if you have a festival or fair you would like us to attend. 

Print Media


Each spring, the "Floodplain Flash" newsletter is post mailed to approximately 5,000 residents who own property in, or adjacent to, a mapped and regulated floodplain. Newsletter topics cover changes in floodplain maps, updates on insurance, and safety tips for preparing and responding to flood events. See the Floodplain Flash newsletter(PDF, 1MB) as an example of this annual communication.

Project Postcards

Capital Improvement Projects are implemented to reduce the risks of flooding and improve water quality. These projects commonly include Public Meetings and Public Notices that are used to notify residents about these projects and seek their input. Staff provides updates about these projects on our website and may also email or send postcards to residents to keep them informed. See an example of a 2015 McDowell Restoration Project postcard(PDF, 1MB) sent to residents around this project to notify them of progress.

Brochures and Utility Bill Inserts

Staff has developed a variety of brochures and utility bill inserts to distribute via water bills or at public events. See our Print Media Library to view our most current brochures and utility bill inserts.

Banners and Vehicle Wraps

Occasionally as part of media campaigns staff have produced very large banners that were hung from parking lot garages for a few months. They have also bought space on public buses and produced graphics for "bus wraps" to advertise events. They've also developed vehicle wraps that were placed on employee vehicles. See examples of banners and vehicle wraps(PDF, 321KB).

Questions? Contact:

Sharnelle G Currence
City of Charlotte, Public Information Specialist - Water Quality

Ashley Smith
Mecklenburg County Environmental Specialist III

Green Infrastructure

Watersheds cannot be improved by stream restoration alone. Additional measures, practices, and policies that support the integration of Green Infrastructure (GI) throughout the community are also needed.

According to the EPA, "Green Infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and other elements and practices to restore some of the natural processes required to manage water and create healthier urban environments."

GI generally refers to Stormwater Control Measures (SCMs), or structural Best Management Practices (BMPs), that store stormwater and/ or allow it to be absorbed into the ground. These measures reduce the volume and velocity of stormwater generated by impervious surfaces and allows pollutants to settle out or break down before they reach local streams and lakes. GI can be something as simple as preserving buffers along streams or planting trees throughout the community, or as complicated as designing and constructing wet ponds and rain gardens to reduce stormwater pollution from hundreds of acres of impervious cover (i.e., parking lots, buildings, houses).

While GI is primarily used to improve stormwater quality, GI's incorporation of natural elements can provide additional benefits for the community beyond stormwater management. GI can help improve air quality, provide habitat for wildlife, reduce the urban heat island effect, reduce energy usage required for heating and cooling, provide more urban-nature connections for aesthetic and psychological benefits to residents, and generally improve the quality of life.

Examples of GI that have been installed throughout the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County include:

  • Bioretention (aka Rain Gardens)
  • Wetlands
  • Wet ponds
  • Water Quality Buffers
  • Trees
  • Restoration of Floodplains

The benefits of GI are best realized when departments, agencies, and organizations work together to incorporate GI principles throughout their projects, policies, and programs.

Examples of City and/or County wide initiatives that support GI include policies such as Post Construction Stormwater Ordinances (PCSO), Mecklenburg County's Floodplain Ordinance, the Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Ordinance that protects stream and lake buffers, and the City Council's 2011 goal to establish a 50% tree canopy by 2050. For more information about the City's tree program, please see TreesCharlotte.  For more information about the PCSOs, floodplain or buffer policies see Watershed Protection or for the specific ordinances themselves see Stormwater Regulations

For more information about GI practices that have been installed, please see Projects or scroll down to the Pilot Stormwater Control Measures Program information lower on this page. 

Green Infrastructure Questions?

Jordan Miller, PE
City of Charlotte Surface Water Quality & Environmental Permitting Program Manager

Rusty Rozzelle
Mecklenburg County Water Quality Program Manager

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

Algal Blooms

What are Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)?

Algae are microscopic, plant-like organisms that are the base of the food web in lakes, ponds, and streams. Under the right environmental conditions, algae can rapidly grow and form an algal bloom which may appear as surface scum, water discoloration, or both. Algal blooms that are formed by species that can produce toxins are known as harmful algal blooms (HABs), but can also be referred to as cyanobacteria blooms, blue-green algae blooms, cyanoHABs, or potential HABs. The toxins produced by HABs can cause adverse health effects in humans, pets, and wildlife.

The following are visual indicators of a possible HAB:

  • Discolored Water – water may appear bright green/blue-green in color.  When algae begin to die off, water may turn milky blue and produce a strong, foul odor.
Green yellow Discolored Water     Green Discolored Water
  • Surface Scum – some HABs form thick scums across the water surface.  They can have the appearance of spilled paint forming a film across the water's surface.  These scums can accumulate along the shoreline.
Surface Scum on top of water     Oily Surface Scum on top of water
  • Flecks and grass clippings – some HABs accumulate into colonies observable as blue-green flecks or as clumps that resemble grass clippings.
Flecks Grass clippings     Flecks Grass clippings

 Why do blooms occur?

The primary factors that cause the growth and reproduction of HABs are:

  • Sunlight
  • Relatively warm water temperatures
  • Slow-moving water
  • Nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus)

HABs are more likely to occur in late spring to early fall when water temperatures are higher. Nutrient pollution can make blooms worse, leading to more severe HABs that occur more often. When large amounts of algae die off and decompose in a waterbody, the oxygen within the water can be depleted and can lead to fish kills.

Check out EPA’s website to learn more about ways you can reduce or prevent nutrient pollution in our waterbodies.

Safety Info

It is hard to tell whether a bloom is harmful just by looking at it, so it is best to avoid the following activities around possible algal blooms:

  • Swimming, boating, kayaking, fishing, jet-skiing, water-skiing, or wading through the water
  • Touching or handling mats of algae
  • Ingesting the water
  • Using the water for washing or irrigation
  • Pets and children are at a higher risk of exposure so keep them away from water that appears discolored or scummy

"When in Doubt, Stay Out!"

If you accidentally come in contact with a HAB, take the following actions:

  • Wash thoroughly
  • Immediately seek veterinary care if your pet appears to stumble, stagger, collapse or vomit uncontrollably after being in contact with the water
  • Immediately seek medical care if a child or adult appears ill after being in contact with the water

For more information about the health effects of HAB toxins, refer to the EPA.

Who Do I Contact to Report a Suspected Harmful Algal Bloom?

If you see a possible HAB in a waterbody in North Carolina, submit a report through the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality's DWR Citizen Report Form or call 704.663.1699.

If you see a possible HAB in a waterbody in South Carolina, contact South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control's HABS coordinator, Emily Bores, or call 803.898.8374.

Active HAB Watches and Advisories

To view current HAB Watches and Advisories in our area, refer to the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation's swim guide. The data used to post these watches and advisories were collected by NCDEQ, SCDHEC, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services.

For More Information and Resources on HABS:

Questions about HABs can be directed to:

Olivia Edwards
Mecklenburg County Environmental Supervisor

Matthew Phillips
Mecklenburg County Environmental Specialist II

Maintenance of Best Management Practices

Best Management Practices (BMPs) are non-structural and structural stormwater practices that manage stormwater generated by impervious surfaces and/or remove pollution from stormwater before it drains into local streams and lakes. Another name for structural BMPs is Stormwater Control Measures (SCMs) or green infrastructure. No matter the name, they all store, absorb and/or filter stormwater to reduce flood risks and improve water quality. Examples of common structural BMPs are dry detention ponds, grass swales, bioretention or rain gardens, sand filters, stormwater wetlands, and wet ponds.

Since the late 1970s, thousands of privately owned structural BMPs have been built throughout the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Long term maintenance of these structures to their original design and function is required and critical for managing stormwater generated by land development.

Long term maintenance of all structural BMPs to original design is REQUIRED.

Regulatory staff will send property owners inspection reports and maintenance notices if maintenance or repairs are needed. Failure to maintain a structural BMP can result in fines. Enforcement is used to ensure structural BMPs are maintained. Regulatory staff work with property owners to gain compliance and are available to assist property owners with ordinance requirements. BMPs fail due to lack of maintenance, they may be very costly to repair. Routine maintenance helps property owners avoid those potentially high costs.

Some property owners do not know they must maintain their structural BMP or even the best way to do it. The City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and the six towns have recently put forth a concerted effort to inventory these BMPs and contact landowners to make them aware of their location, function, and maintenance responsibilities. Please Report A Concern if you see a structural BMP that is not being maintained well.

Inspections are one of the most important parts of long-term maintenance. Staff recommends* that property owners include regular inspections of structural BMPs in their contracts with landscape companies. This way a contractor can alert property owners of maintenance needs before they turn into big, costly problems. This list of BMP contractors and inspectors(XLSX, 30KB) may help property owners choose an experienced and knowledgeable contractor. They are not endorsed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services.

Beginning in 2005, local municipalities began adopting Post Construction Stormwater Ordinances (PCSOs). These ordinances included more rigorous structural BMP design and maintenance requirements than previous land development regulations.

*For BMPs, built after a local PCSO was adopted, an annual inspection report is required.

The annual BMP inspection must be conducted and documented by a licensed professional engineer, a registered landscape architect or a qualified professional depending on the jurisdiction where the property is located. The report must be recorded on the appropriate BMP Inspection Report Form and submitted to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services.

For more information about the inspection and maintenance requirements, please see Stormwater Regulations.

For maintenance tips of the most common structural BMPs, see the following brochures.

For more comprehensive information about structural stormwater BMPs, their maintenance needs and common problems, see the following manuals.

All structural BMPs, or SCMs, included in the Maintenance Manual have been monitored and evaluated to determine their ability to remove stormwater pollution under local conditions. See Pilot Stormwater Control Measures for monitoring reports. 


Corey Priddy
Mecklenburg County Environmental Supervisor

Jordan Miller, PE
Surface Water Quality and Environmental Permitting Manager
Charlotte Storm Water Services

Pilot Stormwater Control Measures Program

The Pilot Stormwater Control Measures (SCM) Program monitors SCMs on public and private property to evaluate their ability and cost effectiveness for removing stormwater pollution. This helps staff determine which SCMs are best for managing stormwater within the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County under different conditions and which performance standards should be included in local Post Construction Stormwater Ordinances. The monitoring and analysis results also help advance the science of stormwater treatment.

SCMs are structures used to remove pollution from stormwater and/or reduce the risks of flooding. They can be made of natural materials such as plants and soil (i.e., rain gardens and grassy swales), hard structures (i.e., detention basins, catch basin inserts) or a combination (i.e., a sand filter with forebay). SCMs remove pollutants in a variety of ways and their performance may vary based on soil type, land use, climate, and specific application.

The Pilot SCM Program evaluates SCMs based on the following parameters:

  • Capital costs
  • Operation and maintenance requirements and costs
  • Pollutant removal efficiency
  • Stormwater quantity control capabilities

While most SCM evaluations are located on public property, SCMs on private property and proprietary SCMs are also considered on a case-by-case basis as governed by the following guidance documents:

The following provides a final report for the SCMs that have been evaluated:

Wet Ponds



Sand Filters

Dry Detention


Level Spreaders

Proprietary Hydrodynamic SCMs

Proprietary Filter SCMs

Pilot Stormwater Control Measures Program Questions?

Steve Jadlocki
City of Charlotte Water Quality Administrator

Outdoor Signs

Dry Detention Basin

What is stormwater? Stormwater is the same thing as rain. When it lands on paved areas like roads and driveways, it can’t soak into the ground. Instead, it “runs off” into a storm drain or ditch. That rainwater flowing along the ground is called stormwater runoff.

What happens to stormwater runoff? As runoff flows along the ground, it picks up pollutants like dirt, trash, and pet waste. Polluted runoff at this library enters storm drains and then makes its way to Stewart Creek, and eventually, the Catawba River.

What is a dry detention basin? A dry detention basin temporarily holds stormwater runoff to reduce flooding. This basin only holds water during and shortly after rainfall. These basins help keep pollutants out of nearby creeks and lakes.

How Does it Work?

  1. Stormwater runoff flows into the detention basin during a rainstorm.
  2. The stormwater runoff then slowly flows through the grassy area where pollutants are removed.
  3. The now cleaner stormwater runoff then flows into an underground stormwater pipe that leads to Stewart Creek.


  • Cleans stormwater runoff by removing pollutants
  • Reduces speed of stormwater runoff
  • Reduces flooding