Located in the headwaters of Beards Creek, this 1-acre mowed and ditched site was identified as a high priority for restoration as part of a watershed prioritization study funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust in 2007. The project was funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and Homestead Gardens and designed and constructed by Underwood & Associates in 2009 and 2012, respectively. “We’re thrilled to have partnered with the Federation on this project, which is now both an amenity at our nursery as well as a benefit to the health of the South River,” offered Homestead Gardens President Brian Riddle.
The South River Federation installed a system of stormwater wetlands and bioretention cells behind the Homestead Gardens nursery. In addition to restoring headwater wetland functions and habitat, the 1-acre project treats 12 acres of runoff coming from parking lots, building roofs, and nursery operations flowing directly to a tributary of Beard’s Creek within the South River watershed – all of which was previously untreated and flowing through manmade ditches in mowed lawn. This project slows the movement of storm flows through the site by allowing a series of terraced wetland pools to trap sediment and process nutrients before water leaves the property: Smaller rain events infiltrate into the existing soils, while higher flows from major storms are able to pass safely downslope. Pollution loving wetland plants, including switchgrass, Atlantic white cedar, and Sweetbay Magnolia, were installed to bolster the new wetland habitat and also increase its ability to process polluted runoff.
This project is an important milestone for the South River Federation’s restoration of the Beard’s Creek subwatershed, which is a key objective within our strategic plan. (Former) Federation Executive Director, Erik Michelsen, explained, “The Federation is committed to working with local businesses, communities, and government to methodically restore the health of the South River one project at a time.” Anne Arundel County’s Phase 2 Watershed Implementation Plan prepared by the Department of Public Works identified the Beard’s Creek sub-watershed, which contains the Homestead Gardens site, as its second highest priority for restoration.