Principio Watershed Stream Restorations

Cecil County, Maryland
Owner: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

WSSI staff conducting existing condition assessments on an impacted reach in Phase 1.

WSSI staff conducting existing condition assessments on an impacted reach in Phase 1.

Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. (WSSI) is restoring more than 40,000 linear feet of stream and planting over 100 acres of riparian buffer to provide Cecil County with Chesapeake Bay TMDL credit to meet their MS4 permit requirements.  The project involves returning these streams to their natural state after being degraded from years of agricultural impacts.  WSSI led the assessment and design of this multi-phase project, coordinated all regulatory aspects and procured permits, and is providing ongoing construction oversight.  For Phases 1 through 3 we obtained U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Department of the Environment, and Cecil County permit approvals – including erosion and sediment control plans – and each phase was designed and permitted with local, state, and federal regulatory agencies in less than one year. Phase 4 was assigned in June 2019.

Same reach 3 weeks post-restoration (before planting).

Same reach 3 weeks post-restoration (before planting).

  • Phase 1 (Horst) is now fully constructed and successfully completed one year of monitoring.

  • Phase 2 (Zartler) is fully constructed and in its first year of monitoring.

  • Phase 3 (McMillan) is under construction in summer 2019.

  • Phase 4 (Long Green Acres) will be underway soon.

During the initial assessments for Phases 1 - 3 we conducted stream and watershed assessments to determine baseline conditions and the TMDL pollutant removal credit.  Assessments included a watershed analysis (review of historic and current aerial photography, current and future zoning, curve number analysis, and impervious cover analysis), an EPA rapid bioassessment, and a BANCS assessment.  In addition, we conducted geomorphic surveys, stream classification, and sediment analysis, and then developed a full stream restoration construction plan set based on Natural Channel Design (NCD) principles. 

Studies to support the stream restoration design included an existing conditions site survey; wetland and stream delineation; and endangered and threatened species investigations.  Because rare bog turtles had been seen at Phases 1 and 2, WSSI proactively coordinated with regulatory agencies to ensure turtle protection during the stream restoration process (and permits were issued without delay).  We also assisted the County through the contractor selection process, which included providing a list of qualified contractors, construction documents, and an engineer’s cost estimate, and responding to contractor questions.  We’re also providing full-time oversight, stakeout, and as-built survey during construction, and are performing 5 years of post-construction monitoring.