At a Glance

Stream and wetland restoration in a densely developed area of Annapolis, Maryland reduces pollutants entering the Chesapeake Bay and contributes to watershed-scale stormwater remediation.

Project Description

Hawkins Cove is a small inlet along Spa Creek, a tributary to the Severn River in Annapolis, Maryland. Despite its relatively small size, the 93-acre Hawkins Cove watershed contributes a significant pollutant load to Spa Creek, Severn River, and the Chesapeake Bay. Stormwater from adjacent urbanized areas swiftly flowed straight into the impaired stream at the top of the cove, delivering sediment and excess nutrients straight into Spa Creek. It also severely degraded stream stability and ecological function. With grant funding from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Spa Creek Conservancy initiated a project to restore Hawkins Cove.

Working closely with the Spa Creek Conservancy, its constituents, and community members, Biohabitats led the implementation of stream and wetland restoration at Hawkins Cove. The restoration, which was designed within the existing, incised channel alignment, involved raising the stream bed elevation to connect to adjacent floodplain areas. This approach allows the system’s ecological function to be improved, rather than degraded, by increasingly frequent flooding events, as flows now enhance adjacent wetlands. The restoration approach will also help to passively remove invasive vegetation within the project area by changing the soil moisture regime.

The project also incorporated the regenerative stormwater conveyance (RSC) of an ephemeral outfall channel as well as stabilization of other shorter outfall systems flowing into the main stem Hawkins Cove stream. The restoration, coupled with recently installed upland stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) in the watershed, will result in watershed-scale stormwater remediation in this important headwater system.

Despite setbacks experienced during heavy rains and the permitting challenges associated with the site’s high density of residential development, the project was completed ahead of schedule.



Chesapeake/Delaware Bays

Physiographic Province

Coastal Plain


Severn River

Expertise Areas

Community, Design & Build, Ecological Restoration, Research & Development, Urban Ecology, Water


City of Annapolis


Annapolis, Maryland, United States

Project Team
  • Meadville Land Service