Headwaters of the Severn River

The headwaters of the Severn River are at the very top of the watershed. This region of the river is environmentally important because it is the place where our river starts, contains some of its most ecologically critical and biologically productive areas, and is also afflicted by large impervious areas of development: highways, roads, large commercial and industrial areas, and housing. Among the critical features of the headwaters region is Jabez Branch, Severn Run's largest tributary and unique as the only coastal plain stream in Maryland with a naturally reproducing population of  brook trout . This fish requires clean, cool, running water and cannot tolerate elevated water temperatures typical of streams disturbed by development. Leading among those developments is I-97 and associated roads/projects created and administered by the Maryland State Highway Administration.

Jabez 3 Blowout Update

The Severn River Association’s board has made the improvement of Jabez Branch 3 its number one priority.  This area is where stormwater from I-97 and Route 32’s interchange’s floods the local watershed when any rain event occurs.  We believe it is the largest source of sediment polluting Severn Run and the Severn River.  Several new islands have been created from high volumes of silt carried into the headwaters of the Severn River from this source.

This past year, after field tours led by the SRA, the State Highway Administration (SHA) agreed that this is a priority area for the State and County mitigation efforts.  SRA put together a coalition of interested parties to expedite the mitigation of stormwater that flows from this massive impervious infrastructure.  The Severn River Headwater Coalition includes the following separate organizations:  SRA, Severn Riverkeeper, Severn River Commission, the State Highway Administration, MD Department of Natural Resources, MD Department of Environment, Environmental Protection Agency and US Army Corps of Engineers.
The first stage of the project is an engineering study to assess stormwater mitigation design alternatives in the immediate area of the I-97/Route 32 interchange.  This includes property owned by SHA, Anne Arundel County, the Department of Natural Resources, and private properties in the immediate area.  This engineering effort will take nine months to complete with recommendations expected by the summer of 2015.  The engineering feasibility study cost approximately $460,000 funded by the State of Maryland.  

It is anticipated that it will take another two to four years to complete the stormwater retention projects that will seek to slow the stormwater and absorb it into the ground before it can erode property and streams that flow to the Severn River.  The Severn River Stormwater Coalition meets quarterly to review progress and seek synergistic opportunities to speed and enhance the effort.  If any area residents or SRA member are interested in participating in these meetings please contact Charlotte Lubbert.

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  Revised   December 24, 2016

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Severn River Association, PO Box 146, Annapolis, MD 21404
Telephone: 443.569.3556 (voicemail)
Our Mission Statement: The Severn River Association, a group of individuals and community organizations, advocates, educates, and acts to
protect and improve the health, ecological integrity, and quality of life for humans, flora and fauna living in the Severn River Watershed