Little Blackwater Stream & Wetland Restoration
The Little Blackwater Stream and Wetland Restoration project is located on the eastern shore of Maryland and encompasses approximately 735 acres of habitat-based design. Project funding was provided by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources through the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, and was secured in two phases, design and construction.
Ecotone was responsible for creating a site design to improve water quality impaired by historical agricultural land use. Over a few hundred years, the entire site had been hydrologically altered to more effectively convey surface water offsite to adjacent water bodies through use of agricultural ditches. The secondary goal of the project was to improve wildlife habitat for the federally-endangered Delmarva fox squirrel, migratory waterfowl, songbirds, and other native Dorchester County species.
Ecotone was able to reconfigure existing ditches into five, low-gradient channels, known as swamp runs, that reduced water transport and improved water quality and flood attenuation within the project area. Approximately, 19 acres of emergent wetland areas to capture runoff from adjacent roadways and riparian forest buffers were increased to 300-foot widths. Finally, 253 acres of native hardwood and pine forest were planted and approximately 45 acres of warm-season grass meadow buffer were installed.
The project was completed in the summer of 2008 and has proved successful. As such, it is our expectation that in future years this project will remain stable and provide enhanced waterfowl and native habitat.
Existing agricultural ditch contributing to a lack of floodplain connectivity.
Swamp run during construction.
Vegetated wetland 7 years post-construction.