about south river federation

The Impossible Streamlogo100x100

Ten years ago, the Federation identified a small stream squeezed between Annapolis Harbour Center and Home Depot as the most degraded stream segment in the South River Watershed. Over 70% of its drainage area consisted of pavement or hard surface! Despite being told that it was “impossible” to restore the “dead stream” that leads into Church Creek (the most polluted creek on the river), the Federation believed that the polluted stormwater gushing from the stream had to be brought under control if we were to heal the river as a whole.

After ten years of negotiations with commercial developers, creating state and local funding partnerships, and completing over 50 other restoration projects, the Federation re-terraformed the stream into a series of cascading step pools that help slow, cool, and filter the stormwater before reaching Church Creek. Using sophisticated continuous monitoring devices, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center is researching the water quality at the start and finish of the project to measure the effectiveness of these techniques in a suburban setting.

Only a few months in to the restoration, preliminary data looks very promising. Summer bacteria levels in the stream (measured weekly) have dropped over 60% since last year. During the pre-restoration fish survey, the team found only 17 eels and mosquito fish living in the stream. A few months after restoration, they found the fish population had already grown over 1,000%, to 186 individuals!

AHC stream beforeAHC stream after