This project has been selected to receive an honorable mention for its outstanding creation of habitat in a stream restoration project. The restoration of Cat Branch included 3.5 acres of non-tidal wetland restoration, 1,492 linear feet of stream restoration, retrofit of a dated stormwater management dry pond, two stormwater outfall stabilizations, a step pool storm conveyance (SPSC) system, and a stormwater wetland at two other degraded stormwater outfalls. Valley-wide log grade control structures and clay channel blocks were installed in strategic locations within the valley to improve groundwater recharge and floodplain hydrology. Plantings for this project included over 1,400 native trees and shrubs, and 12,000 square yards of native wetland plants, to provide immediate establishment of a dense vegetative root mat for long-term stability. Species were strategically planted in the zones of the project where they would have the best chance of survival, divided into upland forest/meadow, riparian forest/meadow, and floodplain plantings.
The willow and other wetland shrubs were also added to the project in the hopes of attracting beaver to invade the site from below. There are currently a series of beaver dams just below the restored site, stepping down to tidewater of the Little Magothy, and the expectation is that as the restoration site matures, it will become attractive habitat for beaver to move into.