south river restoration

Background: The Bacon Ridge Natural Area (BRNA) is a County owned Natural Area in Crownsville, MD. The area consists of over 700 acres of forests, streams, and wetlands, including portions of the Crownsville State Hospital property. The Federation strongly advocated for the permanent protection of new parcels in 2009 and 2010 , as well as for increased public access to the property once those parcels were acquired and protected. Anne Arundel County continues to add acreage to the site, which sits in a sensitive area of the South River's headwaters. For more information on the Bacon Ridge Natural Area, please visit the Scenic Rivers Land Trust website or Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks page.

Restoration: Bacon Ridge Branch is a stream within Bacon Ridge Natural Area that is experiencing significant erosion and headcutting despite being surrounded by only 4% impervious cover in its drainage area. This is partially due to naturally erosive soils, but primarily a result of continued runoff from state highways and a history of deforestation, soil loss, and poor livestock management practices in past eras (hence the name "Bacon Ridge" - pigs roamed freely after the watershed was deforested). US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) biologists have identified at least 180 active headcuts (erosion areas) within the property. Action is needed to retain the high quality wetlands and forests in this area, before they are impacted by stream channel erosion and impacts to the entire forest's hydrology.

Headcut Project 1: USFWS designed, permitted, and constructed a series of log weirs in a rapidly eroding forested headcut in September, 2014. SRF assisted by providing live plants and volunteers to help the restoration area become established and stable.

Groundwater Recharge Wetlands: In 2015, SRF and USFWS decided to partner to explore an experimental concept devised by USFWS: to collect stormwater in small wetlands and then (through pipes or a gravel layer) allow the filtered wetland overflow to travel vertically back into a highly porous soil layer, recharging the groundwater table instead of contributing runoff volumes to nearby headcuts. As of early 2016, the project is approximately 50% funded and should be constructed by late 2016.

Main Stem Stream Restoration. In early 2015, USFWS notified SRF that significant erosion was present in the main stem of Bacon Ridge Branch (an intermittent stream channel reach). The site represents roughly 2,500 linear feet of actively eroding perennial channel in a forested setting. Vertical downcutting in the stream bed is causing the active drainage of high quality forested wetlands, which will eventually convert to uplands or marginal wetlands if no action is taken. The Federation and USFWS are working to increase floodplain connection via use of valley-wide grade control structures, while still providing an active, flowing channel in its current location. This approach will provide many of the benefits of more extensive regenerative stream conveyance (RSC) approaches with a far more limited scope of disturbance to the existing forest, and at a much reduced cost.

Project Funded By:

DNRweb US Fish and Wildlife Service CBT BayPlate Logogif 2010

Featured Projects

  • Annapolis Harbour Center Stream and Wetland Restoration

    The Annapolis Harbour Center Stream and Wetland project improved habitat, increased floodplain connection, and prevents bed and bank erosion. This particular project focusesd on controlling flows and providing habitat at the bottom of existing outfalls, through the use of a step-pool storm...

  • Broad Creek - Health Department Gully Restoration Phase 1

    This restoration project restored stability and functions to a 950  linear feet ephemeral gully that flows to the East Branch of Broad Creek.  The channel was highly unstable, leading to excessive delivery of sediment downstream during even minor storm events. By stabilizing the gully and...

  • Church Creek Headwaters Restoration

    There are four primary tributaries feeding Church Creek, one of the most highly degraded sub-watersheds on the South River.  One of them, the Wilelinor Stream Valley was restored in 2003 by Anne Arundel County and the Maryland State Highway Administration using sand seepage stream and wetland...

Current Projects

  • Bacon Ridge Natural Area

    Background: The Bacon Ridge Natural Area (BRNA) is a County owned Natural Area in Crownsville, MD. The area consists of over 700 acres of forests, streams, and wetlands, including portions of the Crownsville State Hospital property. The Federation strongly advocated for the permanent protection of new...

  • Beards Creek: Killarney House & Neighbors Community BMPs

    Killarney House Stream Restoration Project With "Live Green, Eat Irish" as their motto, a roof covered in solar panels, and a small farm out back, the Killarney House Irish restaurant is committed to being environmentally responsible. In 2015, Killarney House owner Anthony Clarke reached out to...

  • Broad Creek - Health Department Gully Restoration Phase 2

    This restoration project will restore stability and functions to a 750  linear feet ephemeral gully that flows to the East Branch of Broad Creek. Like the nearby gully restored in May of 2018, this channel is highly unstable and leading to excessive delivery of sediment downstream during even minor...

  • CAT - South Rain Garden

    The Federation is constructing a stormwater bioretention cell on the campus of the Center of Applied Technology – South (CAT-South), a magnet program of Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) located in Edgewater, Maryland. This project will address flooding issues experienced outside one of...

  • Gravely - Kings Branch 'Grand Canyon' Restoration

    Flat Creek's "Gravely Grand Canyon" is one of the fastest eroding tributaries in the South River watershed, with over 11,000 linear feet of highly incised and unstable channels.

  • Holly Hill Harbor Restoration

    The project was identified by the West/Rhode Riverkeeper for retrofits due to the frequent high bacteria levels that were found in weekly bacteria samples conducted just outside of the property. These elevated levels highlighted the need to prevent polluted stormwater from entering the river.

  • Living Shoreline Projects

    The South River Federation has worked with a number of communities on the River to replace bulkhead and revetment with natural “living shoreline” projects. These projects rely less on structural materials, such as rock and lumber, for stabilization, and instead work with the wave energy on the...

  • Turnbull Estates BMP & Living Shoreline Project

    South River Federation (SRF), in partnership Turnbull Estates community, Edgewater, MD, is seeking to couple a community bioretention project with an innovative living shoreline restoration approach, utilizing the native oyster Crassostrea virginica along with conventional methods (segmented sills)....