At a Glance

Wetland and stream habitat and function are restored using only wood structures.

Project Description

Home to more than half a million people, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, is bordered to the east by the Chesapeake Bay. Not surprisingly, requirements for the County's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit are stringent. To help the County comply with those requirements, Biohabitats designed and constructed the restoration of Beards Creek, a degraded tributary to the South River and ultimately the Bay. Working with the County and the nonprofit Arundel Rivers Federation, Biohabitats reconnected the stream to its floodplain to halt active headcutting and incision with the forested floodplain.

Channel-spanning engineered log jams, constructed with a combination of on-site woody material and imported trees, hold the normal baseflow water surface just below the floodplain. The use of wood, the dominant form of natural grade control in the Coastal Plain, results in a resilient, nature-based solution for restoring stream and wetland health using construction methods that lower the carbon footprint of the project. Beaver dam analog structures made of willow wattles were also installed across the floodplain to trap out-of-bank flows and further improve valley bottom habitat.

The Beards Creek Stream Restoration modified the hydraulics of 1,700 LF of stream channel and valley to optimize floodplain reconnection of stormflows and improve stream geomorphology to ensure long-term bed and bank stability. The restoration also helps detain and slow stormwater flows throughout the full width of the valley bottom and restores ecological function to non-tidal wetlands.



Chesapeake/Delaware Bays


South River

Expertise Areas

Climate Change, Community, Ecological Restoration, Infrastructure, Urban Ecology, Water


Anne Arundel County


Riva, Maryland, United States

Project Team
  • Daft McCune Walker