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Ecosystem restoration in the Chesapeake Bay headwaters, Severn River Tributary, Anne Arundel County Maryland

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[Music playing]

Faith:

We're standing on one of the many sand

berms that have been recently created for


this somewhat larger restoration project;


looking at restoring watershed hydrology


in this area. It's a tributary to the


Severn River. Hala, what are some of the


details that went into this stream restoration project?


Hala: Well as you mentioned, Faith, this


is part of a larger ecosystem restoration


project. The main parts of this project


and what makes this really a great


opportunity is that we had a project to construct


an office building and within that project a


very sensible stormwater management, low


impact stormwater management, that also


employs similar techniques that you have seen


as part of the stepping stone conveyance have


been implemented. What makes this site


where we're standing here pretty unique


is that we had an outfall that was in an


extremely degraded condition where normally


if you are to develop a site and do all of


your management offsite, you wouldn't have


to do anything about a degraded out fall system.


This is a project that went beyond the


requirements; beyond the regulations;


and conducted structural restoration,


ecosystem restoration, that you can see


here and more than a half of mile of ecosystem


restoration and the implementation of


regenerative storm conveyance to restore


what used to be a severely degraded


channel receiving severely degraded habitat


scores within our assessment, our


watershed study assessment; had very


poor biological assessments prior to


restoration; and just a series of head


cuts and erosion. That's all you could


see walking down this stream system which


is very different than we see now. It's a


unique opportunity to retrofit some of


the sins of the past and to go beyond


the requirement of a development site.


Faith: And Ron, what were some of the county


involvement aspects, being that this is right within the county?


Ron: Well the complex that we're within


houses both the central headquarters for


our police department as well as our fire


department. And the department of public


works became part of the complex a number


of years ago with the centralization of


our water operations. We're taking this one


step beyond that currently and we have a


new central sanitation facility that will


allow us to bring the rest of our sanitary


sewer operations into this same complex


and centralize operations. So we wanted


to make sure that we took advantage of


the opportunity with the new office building


that we created up here to pursue a silver


lead certification on the design and


construction of the facility. As part of


that process the site planning becomes a


very important component of the lead


certification rating system. What we did


with the management component of this is we


generated the infiltration of stormwater


throughout the entire site complex itself.


The full complex is ringed with a series


of infiltration devices that begin to


collect and infiltrate water from the very


top of the drainage basin. And as we progress


around the perimeter of the property, we get


into the parking lot areas that were


constructed as part of the central sanitation facility.


Those parking areas have a very deep bed of


cobble and gravel underneath them so all of


what otherwise would have been impervious


areas are actually introducing surface run


off into the ground water system at the top


of the watershed. So, the opportunity to


take advantage of the severely degraded


stream channel we had through here as a


component part of that project, was something


that we were very excited to have that


opportunity, to marry the two together and


had a budget appropriation that allowed us


to do that. What we see here today is a


very dramatic increase in the hydrology of


the system; an unbelievable impalement of


water within the steps here but also


throughout the whole geology of the area.


Hala: It was actually correctorized as


a gulley system. When we classified this


stream here, it was a gulley system. It


was on the order of I would say about


ten to fifteen feet in height, the banks.


The type of material in the channels was


very characteristic of a high sediment


yield channel system that was very fine


material in the bottom of the channel.


It had no access to the flood plain at


all so there were no water quality


functions being conducted in the previous channel.


Faith: This was like a there's a remnant


bog just up the way a bit, right? There's


some remnant of what used to cover a


much larger area of the landscape.


Keith: Of the whole region here, yeah.


Faith: The whole region. So this system


that's new, the complex is tied into that


bog and you've kind of improved that as well, right?


Keith: Well the fundamental development


of the bogs in this area, and what's left


of the bogs in this area, has to do with


hydration of sugar white sands in this


formation. So what we've done is lift the


water up to rehydrate those and then reduce


the slope on the ground water. So storing


ever more water back up in the landscape,


when that leaks out, as the spring head


seeps, that's kind of the very fundamental


start of these bog ecosystems. So again


back to this integrated stream and wetland


ecosystem, here we can honestly call this


a restoration because we're working with


the native geology and with the native


plant form; or at least replicating in


some sense of the native plant form.


Faith: How does a sight like this fit


into kind of the broader TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) issue?


Ron: That's a very good question and it's


one that is really important to us. We have


huge challenges to confront as it relates


to the existing TMDL that's being


promulgated. We have substantial pollutant


reduction that's necessary to achieve


the level of allocation we need. Going


along with that, as we reduce the pollutant


load, we also need to be able to demonstrate


that we can keep those loads at those


allocated levels as economic growth and


development continues. So with that concept


in mind, on this particular project and


all of the work that's been done to


infiltrate to the maximum extent possible


stormwater runoff within the site planning


itself, we have exceeded the requirements


that we have from a storm management perspective.


This would clearly be, just for the site


planning and implementation itself, a


no net impact project, quite frankly,


that has probably further improved the water


quality coming through the system. Adding


on top of that this roughly half mile of


stream restoration that we've recreated


here and all the hydrology that's generated,


what we will actually recognize as a net


result of the combined projects, including


the stream restoration, is a substantial


pollutant load reduction from what


preexisted before we even started on the


site. So this would be a very classic


example of what can be accomplished and


achieved as it related to being able to


provide the assurance that when you reach


allocations that you develop these techniques,


you can actually have new no net increase


and in many cases you actually have a


positive gain in terms of reduction.


Keith: If I can just add to that, when


you shoot for the moon like we did on


this project where you can work your way


to the top of the watershed with a matrix


of zero order streams that serve your


stormwater management needs, that are


all sand bedded and linked hydrogeologically,


this kind of magic happens. The other magic


that happens is all your stormwater


pipes go away. So this is a redevelopment


project. This is where lots of people


would tell us that this can't be done.


We're standing here looking at a perrenial


stream that didn't exist prior to


this project going underground.


Hala: And if I may just add one thing is the


site drainage area is a very small component


of the drainage area of the stream here.


We're talking about on the order of I


believe 130 acres drainage area to the


stream system. The treatment within the


stream system, this half a mile of restoration


that we've done here, does wonders for


our need to meet TMDL toward the Bear Branch


and the Severn River because here we are


creating the treatment for this 100


acres that we didn't even impact. So


this is going beyond what's required on


development and a redevelopment project,


I think it is going to be crucial


if we ever would meet a TMDL.


Faith: So more than just the one site.


You're gaining the entire benefit for the entire watershed.


Ron: There are other developed areas


in the upland that otherwise now being


treated through this system.


Keith: What gives us great hope about


this as an example is the cost savings


associated with this. Not only do we


get all these fantastic natural


resource benefits back, but what

a lovely park for people to be walking

in off behind these buildings here and

all the pipes go away, saving millions


of dollars. I think, personally, that's


what's gonna drive this ecosystem


restoration approach to managing our


water draining all together.


Faith: It seems like the incision process


just keeps going and just adding pipes


doesn't necessarily cut off that process in the long run.


Keith: We have a huge obstacle to overcome.


It's intuitive for human beings to want


to see where that water is going and drive


down in the landscape. It's counter intuitive


for us to put the water up here so I think


that we're going to fight that battle for


awhile even when people are visiting sites like this.


[Music playing]

[End of Audio]

Details

Title: Ecosystem restoration in the Chesapeake Bay headwaters, Severn River Tributary, Anne Arundel County Maryland

Description:

Faith Fitzpatrick (U.S. Geological Survey), Hala Flores (Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works), Ronald Bowen (Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works), and Keith Underwood (Underwood and Assoc.) talk about stream restoration projects associated with Anne Arundel County's new office complex. A 0.5- mile long series of sand seepage berms and bog wetlands were constructed instead of traditional stormwater ponds. This unique site had a degraded and eroded outfall system and ephemeral gully that was rehabilitated into a perennial stream and floodplain system starting with enhanced infiltration in the headwaters. Pollutant load reductions also are met through stormwater redevelopment using sand bedded systems.

Location: Anne Arundel County, MD, USA

Date Taken: 3/22/2011

Length: 10:52

Video Producer: Douglas A. Harned , National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA), USGS, North Carolina Water Science Center, Raleigh, NC


Note: This video has been released into the public domain by the U.S. Geological Survey for use in its entirety. Some videos may contain pieces of copyrighted material. If you wish to use a portion of the video for any purpose, other than for resharing/reposting the video in its entirety, please contact the Video Producer/Videographer listed with this video. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this video.

Additional Video Credits:

Faith Fitzpatrick: Scriptwriter, Narrator, Scientist Consultant

Gerard McMahon: Producer

Douglas Harned: Producer, Video, Editor

Alan Cressler: Video

Luke Myers: Video

Hala Flores (Anne Arundel County, Department of Public Works)

Ronald Bowen (Anne Arundel County, Department of Public Works)

Ronald Bowen (Anne Arundel County, Department of Public Works)

Keith Underwood (Underwood and Assoc.)

File Details:

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In: Water collection

Tags: AnneArundelCounty AquaticEcology Baltimore DouglasHarned EUSE Ecosystems FaithFitzpatrick Habitat Hydrology Maryland NAWQA SeepageBerm SevernRiverTributary StormWaterPond StreamRehabilitation StreamRestoration USGS Urbanization WaterQuality WaterResourceManagement

 

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