Harford County met with Ecotone as it needed to identify restoration projects. Ecotone owner, Scott McGill, visited Bear Cabin Branch and recommended the site, a fallow river valley owned by the County’s Park and Recreation Department. Stream banks were as high as 6 to 8 feet, and the site had been dammed, ditched, straightened, and dried out over the last 350 years.
Leveraging funding from the Maryland Department of Natural Resource’s Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Trust Fund, Ecotone partnered with Harford County to restore the entire reach. Ecotone used a natural channel design approach, and on the construction side, a blank canvas allowed Ecotone to try new innovative measures. Key elements including cutting down the floodplain, constructing low-flow channels, encouraging stream flow changes, and designing wetlands to ensure that valley remains wet. A deliberate messy rough with holes, pockets, and oxbows now support wetland plants and amphibians. Two beaver colonies have colonized the site, and their dams store sediment, store water to mitigate flooding downstream, as well as processing nutrients.
- Floodplain reconnection
- Legacy sediment removal
- Wood repurposed into design
- “Less is More” approach to restoration
– PROJECT PHOTOS –
“Ecotone has been a reliable and highly professional partner in ecological restoration projects on agricultural properties in Baltimore County. One of the outcomes of the partnership is to meet the agricultural goals set forth by the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan. On each project this partnership has completed, Ecotone has exceeded expectations with their efficiency, effort, and end results. Ecotone consistently meets deadlines and has remained communicative throughout not only the life of an individual project, but throughout the life of its partnership with the Baltimore County Soil Conservation District. Ecotone’s innovation in restoration and professionalism make them an excellent partner that allows achieving environmental improvement to be easy and straightforward.”-Jim Ensor
District Manager, Baltimore County Soil Conservation District