Location: Laurel, MD
Partners Involved: Howard County Dept. of Public Works; Bureau of Environmental Services
Type of Buffer: Suburban Residential
Submitted by: Radhika Wijetunge
Stream restoration and riparian buffers are perfect partners.This project is located on a 6.69-acre site and the stream restoration/buffer work took place on a 1.2 acre tract of which .8 acre was in the 100-year floodplain on an unnamed tributary to the Rocky Gorge in the Rocky Gorge Reservoir watershed (part of the larger Patuxent River sub-basin). The stream valley is bordered by single-family residential development. Prior to work, the existing onsite forest stand was determined to be in fair to good condition.
The site was dominated by tulip poplars in the 20-29.9 inch class size. Red maple was also common in the canopy. Dominant understory and shrub species were spicebush, oriental bittersweet, red maple, greenbrier, black gum, wineberry, and barberry. There was not much herbaceous cover, but Japanese stilt grass and Japanese honeysuckle were present. Scope of Work: The stream was highly eroded; therefore, a stream restoration project was initiated to stabilize the stream embankments. In addition, an adjacent SWM pond was retro-fitted. This was followed by the riparian buffer project which consisted of the planting of approximately 140 trees that included white oak, red oak, pignut hickory, flowering dogwood, black cherry, and hornbeam.
The project was completed in March, 2020. Partners: Howard County Department of Public Works, Bureau of Environmental Services (funding was through a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund) Outcome: The project restored approximately 1,489 linear feet of an unnamed tributary to the Rocky Gorge Reservoir, providing a stable channel profile with flow diversity and pool habitat while reducing the channel/floodplain footprint and disturbance. Two adjacent tributaries’ confluences were stabilized to prevent the potential erosion. A partially exposed gas line was armored and protected from the stream. The amount of impervious acres treated from this project was 44.7 acres.
This post Is part of the first annual CCLC Riparian Buffer Month.
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