In December, groundbreaking event will mark the start of a stream corridor and wetland restoration project at the Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in northwest Prince George’s County, Maryland. The project is located adjacent to Little Paint Branch, a tributary of the Anacostia River.
The project was made possible through a unique Public Private Partnership (P3) with BARC being a public holder of large urban landholdings that possess significant restoration, stormwater, and nutrient management opportunities.
GreenVest (GV) led a team of private partners including GreenTrust Alliance (GTA), Princeton Hydro (PH), Environmental Quality Resources (EQR), and, in concert with USDA-ARS, proposed a set of three (3) adjacent wetland and stream restoration projects, located on the approximately 25-acre North Farm Spray Irrigation Field (SIF), which have become known, collectively, as the BARC Wetland and Stream Restoration Project (Project).
GreenVest, as the project lead, developed this Project to restore, create and enhance 25+ acres of headwater wetland, stream and upland habitat on and adjacent to the SIF.
This plan includes the restoration of a portion of this system’s historic ecological composition, function and values. Design, permitting, and approvals commenced in the spring of 2015, and construction of the project started in November 2016.
The project includes restoration of a functioning and structurally complex headwater wetland and stream network that historically was found at this location.
Restoration work includes relocating over 6,600 linear feet of low order headwater stream channel including re-establishing and reconnecting its active floodplain and promoting groundwater recharge.
Design features also include in-stream structure (rock, root wads, woody debris) and re-vegetation of stream banks to provide permanent stability.
The wetland restoration will include re-establishment of the historic A horizon and surficial groundwater storage cell, removal and eradication of invasive species, restoring forested wetland composition and structure, installation of deer exclusion fencing, and associated maintenance and monitoring activities.
This project will lift myriad ecological functions and values, including: reduced sediments, nutrient reduction and cycling, floodplain reconnection/restoration, flood storage, groundwater discharge/recharge, stormwater management, wildlife habitat, downstream stream bank stabilization, and surface water quality improvement in the lower reach of Spray Irrigation Tributary (SIT) and Little Paint Branch.
The 25+ acre project is estimated to yield annual nutrient reductions of over 812.5 pounds of nitrogen and 409.35 pounds of phosphorous. Assigned a minimum 30-year useful life, nutrient loading entering the Chesapeake Bay Watershed could be reduced by over 36,000 pounds over the span of the project.
In addition to watershed improvement, this project will also protects 22 acres of irreplaceable farmland that has been part of the BARC research and production resources for over 50 years.
Public agencies involved include:
USDA Agricultural Research Service
United States Army Corps of Engineers
Maryland Department of Environment
Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation
Additional project components, including financial assurances for the construction, maintenance, and monitoring of the Project, as well as seven (7) years of maintenance and monitoring, help insure project durability.
All funding has been provided through non-federal sources, including but not limited to a grant from the Maryland Department of Environment-Chesapeake Bay Trust (MDE-CBT) Nontidal Wetland Grant Program, and payment from Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation for a portion of the restoration values created.
The official groundbreaking event commemorating the BARC Wetland and Stream Restoration Project is set for December 21 at 11:00 on site in Beltsville, Maryland.
source: USDA Agricultural Research Service