Church Creek Headwaters Restoration
Before (left) and After (right)There are four primary tributaries feeding Church Creek, one of the most highly urbanized and 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 restoration techniques. The goal of this larger subwatershed restoration effort wasto take the necessary steps to repair the other tributaries to Church Creek, using similar restoration methods as well as pond retrofits, upland bioretention practices, and living shoreline techniques to create a model sub-watershed restoration, and evaluate the impact of such cumulative work on the South River.
The Church Creek Headwaters Restoration Project is located just north of Route 665 (Aris T. Allen Boulevard) in Annapolis on a parcel that includes several acres of floodplain and steep slopes. The site represents the confluence of two major non-tidal tributaries to Church Creek. Prior to restoration in 2015, these tributaries were incised into a floodplain composed of over ten feet of aggraded legacy sediments that were exported to tidewater under storm flows through the rapidly eroding (widening) ditch channels. This project created several acres of stream and wetland habitat by raising the invert of the existing ditch channel in multiple locations and inundating or saturating the floodplain.
Anne Arundel County’s Phase II WIP listed this site as moderately degraded and a high priority for restoration. It is listed in our 2008 Watershed Restoration Plan as one of 30 high and medium priority restoration projects.