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Friday, August 17, 2007

Anne Arundel County, MD Receives $1 Million From State For Stream Restoration

On Wednesday Gov. Martin O'Malley announced a $1 million grant to help restore part of Cowhide Branch, one of the main tributaries of the troubled Weems Creek. Weems Creek resides in the Severn River watershed in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The entire restoration project will cost $2.3 million, with AA County chipping in $1.3 million.

The Cowhide Branch sub watershed covers about 535 acres, with 52 percent covered by impervious surfaces like parking lots, roads, and roofs. Research shows more than 14 percent of impervious surface in an area seriously impairs a watershed. The Cowhide has suffered serious impairment for many years. Many point to the 1993 incident when a stormwater retention pond adjacent to the stream area failed and collapsed after heavy rains had moved through the area. The pond failure release thousands of gallons of sediment laden water into Weems Creek, then, eventually into the Severn River. This, combined with continuing development, and increased impervious surface area within the watershed, Weems Creek has not had a chance to rejuvenate itself naturally.

I was really glad to hear about the award from the state to help restore this section of the creek. AA County should be commended for the work it has been doing over the past several years with its environment/restoration programs. This project is a small, yet valuable step toward restoring the Chesapeake Bay. But there is a long way to go.