​Updates to the Small Pond Approval Process​​​​​

​The Maryland Department of the Environment (Department) is moving forward with finalizing a small pond approval policy that aims to address the gap in technical review capability resulting from NRCS Bulletin 210-21-01. This small pond approval policy is to be followed by local Soil Conservation Districts (SCDs) and the Department's designees when approving small ponds in accordance with both state laws and regulations. Accordingly, the local engineering and design community, as well as dam and small pond owners should familiarize themselves with the policy.


The Department has worked with the local SCDs, the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts (MASCD), the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA), the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) over the past year to develop these documents to clarify the expectations of small pond approvals to ensure the intent of the law and regulations are met and that the process and standards are clear.  The Department wishes to thank local SCDs, NRCS, MASCD, DNR, MDA, and MDOT SHA for your comments, questions, suggestions and input during this process.  


Draft policy documents were distributed for comments in early spring and early summer of this year.  The Department has received comments from many SCDs, NRCS, and MDOT SHA on these draft documents.  The Department has held a number of virtual meetings to discuss potential issues and answer questions.  The Department has reviewed all of the comments and has made changes to the draft documents as needed. Included as an attachment to this email is a response to comments received.


At this time we are moving forward with the enclosed updated Small Pond Approval Policy and Appendices. All small pond approvals from local SCDs or the Department's Designee issued after January 1, 2023 shall be done in accordance with these policies in order to be recognized by the Department as an acceptable alternative to obtaining an MDE issued dam safety permit.  In the coming months, the Department will schedule training sessions for the SCD plan review staff, SHA plan review staff, and local review agency staff.  In addition, the Department will be available to provide technical assistance to the SCD and Department designees, as requested.  


Please forward any comments, thoughts, or concerns to Jennifer Smith, Program Manager, Stormwater, Dam Safety, and Flood Management Program, at jenniferm.smith@maryland.gov​, or John Roche, Chief, Dam Safety Permits Division at John.Roche@maryland.gov​


Small Pond Approval Process Policy

Pond Summary Sheet (Replaces MD-14)
Small Pond Design Review Checklist

Technical Review Affidavit
Template Small Pond Approval Document
As-Built Submission Checklist
As-Built / Project Completion Affidavit
Dam and Small Pond Approval Guidelines in Coldwater Resource Watersheds​

September 20, 2022 Presentation to MD Dam Owners Workshop

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