listed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as a stronghold watershed containing the highest populations of threatened and endangered species including brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), the bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii), and the Maryland Darter (Etheostoma sellare).
The WRAS was developed by the Harford County Department of Planning and Zoning in 2005 with the primary goal to protect water quality, conserve fish and wildlife habitats, and restore areas found to be impaired. With combined efforts from Ecotone, HSCD, and more recently Trout Unlimited, these impaired areas continued to be identified in agricultural properties where sensitive species such as brook trout and their habitat are in need of restoration and/or protection. Using funding from the WRAS, Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, USDA Farm Bill programs such as Environmental Quality Improvement Program, and Wetland Habitat Improvement Program, HSCD has implemented multiple restoration projects consisting of stream restoration and bank stabilization, wetland restoration, shallow water development, and riparian buffer planting.
This past year, Ecotone designed and constructed five of these restoration projects totaling 1,400 linear feet of stream restoration and close to two acres of wetland restoration. More recently, HSCD has been awarded a $2.6 million grant from DNR through the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Trust Fund to implement 1.9 miles of stream restoration, 10 acres of wetland restoration and 20 acres of riparian buffer tree and shrub planting by July 2015 on selected sites within the Deer Creek watershed.
The proposed work will further progress the goals and objectives outlined in the WRAS by restoring sensitive species habitats but also help the agricultural sector meet the lurking water quality requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) by reducing nutrient and sediment loads entering the receiving waters of the Deer Creek watershed. Trout Unlimited and Ecotone will continue to work with HSCD on identifying and prioritizing key areas within the the Deer Creek watershed in hope to fund and implement future restoration projects.