by Stephanie Smith
July 28, 2017
Church Creek in Annapolis, Maryland, is seen from above on March 20, 2017. More than half of the land area that drains to the waterway is impervious—paved or hardened surfaces like roads, rooftops and parking lots that prevent water from soaking into the ground.
When rainfall or other precipitation flows across impervious surfaces, it can pick up pollutants like motor oil, pet waste, litter and lawn fertilizer and wash them into nearby waterways. In a highly-developed area like the land surrounding Church Creek, the amount of polluted runoff can be overwhelming; in fact, Church Creek is one of the most polluted tributaries of the South River. In addition to polluted stormwater, the creek had also been notorious as a site for illegal dumping.
In 2011, the South River Federation kicked off an effort to restore the headwaters of Church Creek. Three years and $1.5 million later, the project area was transformed: a series of small pools slow and filter the stormwater flowing into the creek, and thousands of new plants and trees protect the shoreline from erosion while providing habitat for wildlife. Last year, partners involved in the project returned to the restoration site—now home to a multitude of fish, frogs, turtles and birds—to celebrate its progress.
Learn more about the Church Creek Headwaters Restoration project.