At a Glance
Reconnecting a degraded, urban stream to its floodplain improved water quality, enhanced habitat, and provided educational opportunities for area schools.
The 66 square mile Gwynns Falls watershed, which lies in the City of Baltimore and Baltimore County, drains to the Chesapeake Bay. Development in this urban watershed has significantly degraded its streams.
Biohabitats worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Baltimore to restore 2400 linear feet of Maidens Choice Run, a tributary to the Gwynns Falls that runs through the grounds of two schools. The goal of this project, which followed on the heels of a substantial sewer rehabilitation, was to stabilize the stream’s severely eroded banks while improving terrestrial and aquatic habitat.
Biohabitats restoration design reconnected the stream channel with its floodplain and revegetated the floodplain terrace with native plant species. In-stream design techniques included cross vanes, j-vanes, and riffle structures. The design also “daylighted” or unburied 100 linear feet of piped stream to reestablish a natural open channel. In addition to having restored function and stability, the stream is now enjoyed, studied, and celebrated by area students.