WETLAND RESTORATION & ATLANTIC WHITE CEDAR RECOVERY PROJECT
The Howard's Branch Wetland Enhancement Project was implemented to comprehend the economic, aesthetic, and environmental benefits of a constructed wetland environment. The project site was a degraded stream bed that had experienced considerable stormwater flow, legacy sediments, and erosion. The deeply incised channel extended approximately 822 linear feet.
Design and construction of a curvilinear flow path for the stream and an attendant wetland resulted in a less erosive path for the stream and provided superb habitat for native Atlantic white cedar, cranberry, and low-bush blueberry. These plants not only assist with sediment control, but also help to reduce nitrate and phosphate quantities in stormwater exiting the wetland. This project successfully mimics the historical floodplain function of a braided stream system, which utilizes the entire floodplain to safely pass 100-year storms along the 900 linear feet of the new channel.
Howards Branch, built in 2001, is considered to be the best example of the restoration that can be achieved when Regenerative Stream Channel (RSC) techniques are fully applied. The planting effort at Howards Branch was listed by the Environmental News Network as the 11th most significant Earth Day project worldwide in 2001. Today the site supports a vibrant, healthy, and sustainable population of the globally threatened Atlantic white cedar. In fact, it is the only known reproducing stand of Atlantic white cedar in the state of Maryland. It also supports a thriving community of fish, including yellow perch.