about south river federation

This November, the Federation celebrated the ribbon cutting of our Church Creek Headqater's Restoration Project off Rt. 665 in Annapolis, MD. Church Creek ranks as the #1 most polluted creek on the South River, with over 50% of its surrounding drainage area hard-surfaced (i.e parking lots). The creek has also been a historical location for illegal dumping. In 2011, the South River Federation launched the Church Creek Initiative, to scientifically and holistically restore the creek from the tidal shorelines to its headwater streams. As of 2016, we have constructed 13 significant restoration projects on the creek and plan to have 15 completed by the end of 2017.

The Church Creek Headwaters is the key stone project of the initiative, located at the confluence of headwater streams and tidal waters. The Federation converted a series of incised and eroding ditches into 7 cascading sand and gravel step pools that work to filter out pollutants from the stream. The project slows and cools down the polluted stormwater, physically filters the water and provides habitat for wetland plants to remove nutrients from the water. An additional 3 acres of wetlands have been created, and this year there has been many sightings of Bald Eagles and Wood Ducks at the site.


Preliminary Indicators of Success

In 2016, fish and frog monitoring data shows a 1,100% increase in fish population compared to pre-restoration surveys. There has also been a 540% increase in individual frogs from pre-restoration surveys. Already 5 new species of underwater grass have appeared and waterfowl are flocking to the site.

In 2015, the Federation won a “BUBBA” Award or “Best urban BMP (Best Management Practice) in the Bay Award,” for best Habitat Creation. The Federation won First Place for the conversion of the Church Creek Headwaters site from an illegal dumping ground into a restored coastal plain stream/wetland system.

View Photos of the Project, here.

Learn more about the early indicators of success at Church Creek from the capstone project our our 2015 Chesapeake Conservation Corps volunteer, Sarah Giordano, here.

Read Watershed Restoration Director, Kirk Mantay's article in MD Dept. of Natural Resources magazine, here.