RiverSmart Maintenance Assistance Program (RSMAP) – Implemented
Status: Past Project
RSMAP was formed as a natural extension of the services offered by the District of Columbia’s RiverSmart Homes landscaping installation program, which has installed more than 2,000 rain gardens and BayScapes in the District of Columbia since 2009. The concept of RSMAP evolved out of a general recognition that RiverSmart homeowners needed long-term maintenance assistance, and RSMAP began to take shape after a 2016 study conducted by UER, the Landscape Architecture Foundation, and the University of Maryland revealed the different kinds of maintenance support RiverSmart homeowners needed most. After the study, UER and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, the administrator of RiverSmart Homes rain garden and BayScape installations, began working together in 2018 to address the maintenance gap through a nine-month test program that set out the basic framework for RSMAP. The Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) has funded the maintenance program as it has evolved, including the initial 2016 study, 2018 test program, and the 2019-20 RSMAP.
After three years of piloting the RiverSmart Maintenance Assistance Program (RSMAP) together, Urban Ecosystem Restorations (UER) and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (Alliance) have successfully established RSMAP as part of the District Department of Energy & Environment’s RiverSmart Homes Program. Through RSMAP, UER and the Alliance have worked in partnership to create a platform that addresses the specific maintenance needs of District homeowners who have had conservation landscapes, also known as BayScapes, or rain gardens installed through the RiverSmart Homes Landscaping program.
With the mission of succesfully establishing RSMAP as a permanent component of the RiverSmart Homes Program accomplished, UER will conclude its lead role in the development of RSMAP and the facilitation of RiverSmart homeowner maintenance assistance. Moving forward, RSMAP will continue to serve the growing population of RiverSmart homeowners to promote the long term viability of their rain gardens and BayScapes.
The RSMAP was designed to offer different levels of assistance to homeowners to meet a wide range of maintenance needs. The core program offers free advice to homeowners to address the specific needs of their conservation landscapes and rain gardens using cost-effective methods best suited to the particular landowner’s preferences and abilities. Advice is provided by email or phone – much like an “Ask An Expert” service. The direct interaction between the RSMAP team and homeowners allows for trouble-shooting maintenance issues in real time. See our blog on the RSMAP to learn more.
RSMAP is also building a network of qualified and reliable contractors who can deliver on-site services, for those who prefer not to do the work themselves.
UER is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit urban land trust that was formed to work with landowners, associations, and communities to preserve or develop Eco-Functioning Spaces®