RES Videos > Stormwater Innovations: A Groundbreaking Partnership

Stormwater Innovations: A Groundbreaking Partnership

Narrator: (00:01)

Black Swamp Creek stream restoration in Brandywine is one of the largest turnkey projects in the state of Maryland. The Clean Water Partnership with Corvias and Prince George’s County is the first of its kind to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain urban stormwater infrastructure on private land. This partnership will meet municipal stormwater or MS4 regulatory requirements while engaging the local diverse business community.

Reid Cook: (00:34)

The Clean Water Partnership is a unique collaboration between the Corvias Solutions and Prince George’s County. They were able to come into this partnership to create a mechanism for meeting the TMDL MS4 requirements, while also meeting certain county requirements in terms of participation in various other aspects for minority businesses.

Narrator: (00:56)

In 2017, RES introduced the Clean Water Partnership to a novel and innovative approach to total maximum daily load crediting. Thinking beyond traditional stormwater best management practices, which mostly consist of building detention ponds, or concrete diversions located on city lands or easements. RES presented a groundbreaking opportunity, to obtain impervious acre treatment credits through stream restoration on private lands by way of a new green, self-sustaining kind of best management practice.

Reid Cook: (01:30)

Most of the project to date when we were involved had all been done on public property within the county, and that could have been included schools, county-owned property, and even some of the park property. So these projects were the first projects to ever be completed on private property within the county. So they just opened up a new opportunity for projects to be brought into the Clean Water Partnership.

Narrator: (01:51)

This change in thinking about best management practices ultimately reshaped the regulatory methodology used across the entire state of Maryland, and paved the way for stream restoration permitting on private lands. The approach of working with private landowners to restore streams on large contiguous parcels, streamlined implementation of this innovative type of restoration at an impressive scale. And because RES is already skilled in developing long-term relationships with landowners, they were able to secure the right land that would deliver the biggest impact for the project and all of the partners, the landowners, the community, the surrounding watershed, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. Although its location sits in a rural remote area of the state, Black Swamp Creek was selected because of its overall proximity to the Patuxent River. This allowed it to deliver the highest impact in nutrient reduction and made it one of the most ecologically and cost-effective locations in Maryland. The Patuxent River and its tributaries, which flow to the Chesapeake Bay, are all impacted by sediment and other pollutants flowing downstream from more developed parts of the county.

Mary Roman: (03:08)

The Clean Water Partnership and RES realized that Black Swamp Creek was an ideal project location. The site is a heavily degraded stream surrounded by quarries and other industrial land uses. The stream has deep cuts and steep destabilized stream banks that were enabling sediment from those industrial sources to flow into the Patuxent River. Therefore, the project’s purpose was to stabilize the stream banks, and slow down the runoff, and reduce the amount of sediment being discharged into the stream.

Narrator: (03:39)

When these pollutants are reduced, it makes all of the waters more fishable, cleaner and healthier, and especially in Maryland where so many people’s livelihood and recreation are dependent on the waterways. The more that can be done to restore and rejuvenate the waters in the area, the better the outcomes are for the larger community. It was critical for the stakeholders of the Clean Water Project to tap into the local community that would be impacted the most because the project was paid for through state-revolving funds or SRF. These include minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, and small businesses. This provided a unique opportunity for RES to venture outside their role as turnkey designer builder, and instead serve as the manager of multiple community-based subcontractors to get the project design and construction completed on time. On average, the team restored 100 linear feet of stream per day, but one more major challenge lay ahead. 

Mary Roman: (04:42)

At about 80% through construction of the project, a dam upstream of the project site and unrelated to our site activities failed, and the project area was filled with sediment, and it washed away a lot of the work that had already been completed. The way CWP and RES were able to swiftly resolve issues related to the dam breach on short notice and during COVID was a huge success. The program was able to get a final certified project and a great-looking stream restoration project that provides benefit to the community and to the county.

Narrator: (05:14)

The final restoration fulfilled its promise to the partnership and the project. Black Swamp Creek is now stabilized and will improve water quality and habitat, resulting in a drastic reduction of sediment being transported to the Chesapeake Bay. And because this project is located on private lands, RES and its partners were able to extend the stewardship to 30 years, another first of its kind in private land restoration.

Travis Cooke: (05:40)

We really view this as a marriage between two parties that needs to last sometimes 10, 15 years. We really try to help them understand that maintenance, monitoring< and the performance of this site does not fall on them, it falls on RES and our other partners in the Clean Water Partnership.

Reid Cook: (05:59)

You know, now, this stream is able to retain carbon and leaf litter that was not able to retain before. That creates the habitat for the bugs and those bugs create the food supply for the fish. And so what we’ve created is this dynamic ecosystem that hasn’t existed on a site in Eastern or Southeastern Prince George’s County in probably 200 years.

Narrator: (06:20)

Black Swamp Creek was one of four restoration projects RES delivered for the CWP, in total restoring 27,000 linear feet of stream a distance equal to over five miles. The benefits of a holistic approach goes well beyond the project itself. More partnerships like the one between the Clean Water Partnership, RES, and Corvias offer more sustainable opportunities to create clean waters, stronger communities, and vastly improved environmental outcomes for the future.

Mary Roman: (06:52)

Our goal of implementing an attractive stream restoration project and obtaining water quality credits for the county’s NPDS program was a primary goal, but the project had the added benefit of using local contractors, enhancing the local economy, and that’s a huge win for everyone.