Best Habitat Creation Project in the Bay

This category recognizes restoration projects that create or restore a high-quality blend of wetland or upland wildlife habitats. This year, while we sought both forest creation and meadow creation projects, the design jurors ultimately decided on a single award for the category.

Strong contenders in this category demonstrated how the project:

  1. Utilizes native plantings suitable to the soil and water conditions at the site to create diverse habitat zones
  2. Results in at least 20,000 square feet of habitat that is protected from future disturbance
  3. Has a responsible authority that can maintain the habitat over time and help control invasive plants
  4. Encourages access for the public to explore and learn about the habitats
  5. Connect with other habitat areas or the stream corridor
  6. Treat the quality of stormwater runoff from upland development or
  7. Attract pollinators, amphibians, songbirds, waterfowl and other wildlife to the project site

First Place

Fairfax County Stormwater Reforestation

Silas Burke Park Reforestation planting. One of five planting sites under this program.

Project Team:

Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services

Ashton Manor Environmental, LLC

Fairfax County Park Authority

The Fairfax County Stormwater Reforestation project is converting over 10 acres of county parkland from turf grass and invasive species dominated disturbed habitat to forest, utilizing innovative planting methods and locally native plant palettes to provide water and air quality, wildlife habitat and human quality of life benefits. The jurors felt that this project stood out thanks to the diversity of its plant community and high level of public accessibility. The succession approach to planting and long-term maintenance strategy were other outstanding components to this project.

To read a full project narrative and view more photos, visit the project folder on our Google Drive!

Second Place

Creek ReLeaf

Creek ReLeaf Reforestation in Frederick County.

Project Team:

Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources

Frederick Landscaping, Inc.

Conservation Services, Inc.

The Creek ReLeaf program is a multi-year reforestation program designed to increase the total amount of forested area within Frederick County Maryland on public and privately owned lands. The Creek ReLeaf project is remarkable for the scale of its impact, with 150 acres planted in 2018 and an additional 185 acres planned for the coming year. The program also has a noteworthy process for assessing potential sites, prioritizing plantings that align closely with the county’s Green Infrastructure plan, occur along stream banks, or provide thermal benefits to Brook Trout watersheds.

To read the full project narrative and view more photos, visit the project folder on our Google Drive!

Third Place

Tri-State Marine Wetland Creation

A Heron and Egret Hunting in the Tri-State Marine Wetland.

Project Team:

Tri-State Marine

Arundel Rivers Federation

Ron Johnson & Associates

The Tri-State Marine Wetland project converted an untreated gravel lot into a 60,625 square foot wetland complex consisting of a grass swale, two bioswales, and a stormwater management wet pond ringed by native wetland trees, shrubs, and plants. The project stood out because of the landowner-led effort to treat stormwater while prioritizing habitat on a large scale.

To read the full project narrative and view more photos, visit the project folder on our Google Drive!

Honorable Mention

Derwood Station #2 HOA Stormwater Retrofit

Conservation landscaping designed to convey flow from stormwater outfall.

Project Team:

Derwood Station #2 HOA Board

Rock Creek Conservancy

Darlene Robbins

J&G Landscape Design

Design Green, LLC

Chris Sonne

Chesapeake Bay Trust

Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection

This “conservation landscape on steroids” is a 3,000 sq ft retrofit designed to manage large flows from a stormwater outlet pipe in the community. The habitat-focused design is accomplished with a curving meander of river rock, and thick plantings of native shrubs, grasses and flowering perennials. The design intent is to connect the site ecologically and hydrologically to the adjoining stream valley. The project was noteworthy for its effective use of “green mulch” as groundcover and its success in involving key partners within the community.

To read the full project narrative and view more photos, visit the project folder on our Google Drive!