Welcome to CSN’s new “MS4 Spotlight”! In this feature, we will be taking a monthly spin around the watershed (and beyond) to showcase the great work being done by local governments to treat stormwater and restore our local waterways. If you would like to nominate a program for this feature, please contact David Wood (Wood.CSN@outlook.com).
For our first MS4 spotlight, we’re sticking close to the Bay. Anne Arundel County, MD consists of 12 primary watersheds (including David’s home, the Severn River watershed) that all discharge directly into the Chesapeake Bay. The county’s Watershed Protection and Restoration Program (WPRP) Division is responsible for the environmental assessment, restoration implementation, and ecological evaluation work associated with the County’s clean water obligations under its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit and the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).
Over the past several years, Anne Arundel County has established itself as a leader in the implementation of innovative watershed restoration techniques. Since 2014, the county has completed 74 stormwater pond retrofits and 9 stream and wetland restoration projects, including 2017 Best Urban BMP in the Bay Award
(BUBBA) winner for best stream restoration project. The winning project on North Cypress Branch is a great example of the goals of WPRP’s
restoration program because it demonstrates an integrated watershed approach, installed in conjunction with three additional BMPs that served to reduce the volume of water flowing from upland impervious areas. The restored system has improved stream function and hydrology, achieved through its broad floodplain and associated wetland systems, resulting in a reduction of sediment flowing downstream and significant biological uplift.
Despite all the progress to date, Anne Arundel County is far from finished its work. Funded in large part by its Watershed Protection and Restoration Fee, assessed to county property owners based on the amount of impervious surface on their property, the program currently has five projects under construction and is getting ready to kick off work on its most ambitious project yet. The $5.3 million project will convert a nearly 20-foot wide cement channel that has been carrying stormwater swiftly downstream since 1963 into a nearly 5-acre, broad wetland stream complex.
For more information on Anne Arundel County WPRP’s restoration work, as well as it’s education and outreach, environmental monitoring, or other programs, please visit their website, or find them on social media!