about south river federation

Flat Creek’s “Gravely Grand Canyon” is one of the fastest eroding tributary systems in the South River, with over 11,000 linear feet of ephemeral and intermittent channels as deep as 20 feet across many properties.  The Gravely Community, located in Davidsonville, MD, owns the uppermost limits of this watershed, with sufficient property to abate at least four headcutting gullies at once, and set the stage for future habitat restoration projects downstream. The Federation received a Watershed Assistance Grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust in December of 2016 to cover design costs. This grant program is funded through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Chesapeake Bay Program.






Sediment, or dirt, is the number one pollutant for the South River both by volume and by impact to wildlife. High concentrations of sediment and nutrients coming off the land cause the water to be cloudy and prevent sunlight from reaching the bottom of the shallows. Without sunlight, the grasses cannot grow, and if the grasses do not grow, then there is not enough oxygen or habitat.  Additionally, sediment serves as a vehicle for nitrogen and phosphorus carrying it into the river.  Over the years, stormwater has carved a deep gully through the woods.  The sediment that used to be in that gully, is now in Flat Creek and the South River.


With the Watershed Assistance Grant, the Federation has hired a professional design firm to design a restoration project to abate the erosion and reconnect the floodplain where possible.  Following construction, the site will be planted with thousands of native plants. This will prevent further erosion entering Flat Creek after each rainfall, and allow water to re-enter the system through groundwater.  In addition to the water quality benefits, this project will create and enhance wetland habitat for native flora and fauna.


The pictures below show large gullies, carved from the surrounding stormwater runoff. 

gravely     Gravely 2    DSC 0825