The Anne Arundel County Bureau of Watershed Protection and Restoration (BWPR) identified the Lower Mill Creek Project in the comprehensive assessment of the Magothy River Watershed as an excellent opportunity for stream restoration. Through the stabilization of 2,369 linear feet of stream, the Lower Mill Project greatly improved the ecological function of the surrounding area by creating wetlands and aquatic habitat, recharging groundwater, providing flood attenuation, enhancing riparian buffers, and maximizing sediment and nutrient reductions.
A “Valley Restoration” approach was utilized to encourage high frequency, high duration, and large extent of surface and groundwater exchange between the channel and floodplain and promote the retention of organic matter, sediment, nutrients, and water. The restored existing channel was raised to reconnect the floodplain and reduce shear stress. Riffle grade control structures and coarse woody material were placed in the undersized channel to further protect from incision during storm events. The project also helped to restore fish passage.
The BWPR partnered with the Anne Arundel County Public Schools Office of Environmental Literacy (Arlington Echo) to bring nearby schools, including Magothy River Middle School and Belvedere Elementary School, to the project to plant vegetation and educate them in environmental issues. In addition to the long-term biological monitoring program that routinely collects biological, habitat, and geomorphological data, many projects performed by the County are used as sampling sites for in-depth scientific monitoring efforts by non-profits and universities to further advance knowledge in the field of stream and wetland restoration.