At a Glance

A cost-effective design-build approach improves stormwater management, urban ecology, and opportunities for outdoor learning and fun at a Southeast Washington, DC recreation center.

Project Description

The Congress Heights Recreation Center is a small, but important hub for residents of the Southeast DC’s Ward 8. The Center includes one of the District’s most popular playgrounds. When uncontrolled flows from the surrounding neighborhood began degrading a stormwater channel that ran alongside the Center and flowed into a piped section of a headwater tributary to Oxon Run, the District Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) turned to Biohabitats for help.

In a design-build capacity, Biohabitats transformed the degraded channel into a fully functioning stream system, complete with natural hydrology and a robust riparian zone. The goals of the project were to restore natural hydrology, reduce erosion and stormwater pollution, and improve habitat. The design met these goals through the installation of a Regenerative Storm Conveyance (RSC) design approach that safely conveys storm flows through the site while providing ecological and habitat improvements. Features included constructed riffles and a sand bed filter to clean stormwater, several boulder cascades to convey large flows down a steep slope, and a Water Quality Swale to filter stormwater from a small residential parking area. Care was taken to maintain the forested character of the area while improving the stream corridor, a streamside walking path and removing invasive species. Biohabitats was the prime contractor for this design-build effort, leading design, permitting, and construction oversight. Triangle Contracting acted as prime subcontractor, leading construction implementation.

In addition to meeting DOEE’s goals on time and within budget through a streamlined design-build service, the project added beauty and new outdoor recreational and educational opportunities to a treasured community resource.



Chesapeake/Delaware Bays

Physiographic Province

Coastal Plain


Oxon Run

Expertise Areas

Community, Design & Build, Infrastructure, Urban Ecology, Water


D.C. Department of Energy and Environment


District of Columbia, , United States

Project Team
  • Triangle Contracting LLC
  • ER&M
  • Empire Landscaping LLC
  • Precision Survey and Mapping LLC
  • TCG Property Care, Inc.