Once considered one of the most degraded waterways in Anne Arundel County by the South River Federation, Broad Creek came back to life last spring. In August 2015, the Maryland State Highway Administration Environmental Programs Division hired excavation contractor, Diversified Site Works of Odenton, Maryland, to restore an approximately 2,700 foot-long segment of Broad Creek and an unnamed tributary to Broad Creek.
The goal of the project was to restore pre-development habitat and to stop channel erosion. Rehabilitation of this site was accomplished by the construction of an integrated wetland/stream restoration project within the valley. Portions of the project focused on the removal of legacy sediments from the valley and re-establishment of the historic wetland and flood plain elevations, while other portions of the project increased the elevation of the water table to existing valley grades.
As part of the project’s scope, Diversified Site Works created 1,700 linear feet of access roads, including installation of traffic control devices, and a 1-acre staging area; furnished, installed and maintained erosion/sediment control devices; pumped existing stream around the work area as well as de-watered the work area, clearing and grubbing 5.11 acres.
As part of its environmental restoration, DSW root pruned and elevated trees; imported clay and topsoil to create wetland areas; and imposted and spread six inches of topsoil to create riparian and wetland meadow areas, all while protecting 35 existing tress on the site. DSW also furnished and installed numerous stream structures, including three plunge pools, 2700 feet of channel bed material, and 84 grade control and habitat roughness log structures. To stabilize and re-vegetate the more than three acres, DSW utilized two types of natural fiber matting, and planted 698 2- foot to 3-foot tall shrubs and 500 five-foot tall trees.
The success of this stream restoration project is best described by its overall transformation and its impact on the environment. Before the restoration, Broad Creek was the second-most polluted tributary to the South River, which feeds directly into the Chesapeake Bay. The restored Broad Creek is now designed to handle a 100-year flood, slowing and cleaning runoff before it gets into the South River.