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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.
[End of Audio]
Title: Ecosystem restoration in the Chesapeake Bay headwaters, Severn River Tributary, Anne Arundel County Maryland
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
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.)
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