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Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding the RiverSmart Homes program:
The program is currently open city wide to all of the District of Columbia.
If you own a home in the District, either as a resident or as a landlord, you are eligible to become a RiverSmart Home. Tenants must have their landlord’s consent to participate in the program. Homes that have already participated in the program may not be eligible for additional funding.
Note: Large property complexes such as apartments, condominiums, and offices are currently not eligible for the RiverSmart Homes program. Please visit RiverSmart Communities for information.
Homeowners make a copayment, usually around 10 percent of the total cost, for each RiverSmart Homes feature installed on their properties. The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) subsidizes the rest of the cost. The copayments are as follows:
Homeowners make copayments directly to the contractor installing their RiverSmart Home feature (e.g., shade trees, rain barrels, BayScaping, rain gardens, pervious pavers). The timeline for these copayments will vary by feature. Please contact the nonprofit coordinating the installation of your RiverSmart Homes feature(s) for more information on payment due dates.
After an audit of your property (see below for audit details) is completed, contractors should complete work on your property within 6-8 months.
Landscapers must attend a one-day training to become eligible to install the RiverSmart landscapes (BayScapes and rain gardens). This free training is held each fall and spring and will include a classroom session in the morning with a hands-on component in the afternoon. Topics will include goals and purpose of RiverSmart Homes, design and placement of gardens, and administrative requirements. In the afternoon, participants will assist in a rain garden installation at a RiverSmart Homes site. Please email Lauren Linville to enroll in the next landscaper’s training.
Yes. If homeowners have a landscaper they are currently working with and would like to use her/him to install a RiverSmart feature, the landscaper will need to attend the one-day training offered each fall and spring (see above). Please email Lauren Linville to enroll in the next landscaper’s training.
RiverSmart homeowners are required to maintain their features while they own the property. Maintenance duties will vary depending on the type of installation and usually entail seasonal watering, weeding, mulching, and pruning. Landscaping practices only include plants and trees native to the Chesapeake Bay region, meaning less watering and no fertilizer necessary. Rain barrels will need to be emptied after major rain events and the filters cleared monthly.
Homeowners can also help spread the word about RiverSmart Homes. Please contact Lauren Linville to receive brochures and other promotional material.