by Joan Smedinghoff
December 08, 2017
Members of the Chesapeake Bay Program Citizens' Advisory Committee visit a restored section of Springhouse Run at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. The stream, previously identified as a high priority for restoration, has been converted to a more natural form. Native plants now line the stream and help to improve filtration.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assessed Springhouse Run and the surrounding area in 2005, finding it had poor water quality, few riparian buffers and high sediment pollution. This is a problem for not only the stream, but everything it touches. Pollution affects Springhouse Run as well as downstream waterways including the Anacostia River and—ultimately—the Chesapeake Bay.
Forty-six percent of the land that drains into the stream is impervious, as much of the area around Springhouse Run is urbanized. When it rains, dirt, trash, motor oil, litter and other forms of pollution mix with the water—now called stormwater runoff—and are washed into the storm sewers that empty into the stream.
The Springhouse Run restoration project turned the stream into a series of pools, riffles, rocks and waterfalls lined with native plants. The new design, which will help slow down the water moving through the stream, will prevent erosion while also creating better habitat for animals. Before the restoration, water rushed through the stream and entered into the Anacostia River. With the new improvements and the added efforts of the native plants, more of the water will now be able to filter underground. Projects like the Springhouse Run restoration effort help ensure upstream pollution has less of an impact downstream.
Learn more about stormwater runoff.