Severn River Action Plan – Phase 1 Complete

Published: January 16, 2024

Developing a Severn River Action Plan to Restore the Severn River!

Last year, Severn River Association received $72,500 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Small Watershed Grant program for a “Severn River Watershed Planning Strategy and Subwatershed Action Plan Development” project. Led by the Severn River Association (SRA), in collaboration with the Center for Watershed Protection (CWP) and a dedicated Steering Committee, the aim is to 1) develop a long-term strategy for restoration action plan development and 2) conduct assessments and develop an action plan for the #1 priority area.

Objectives

  1. Creating a Strategy: We are working on a comprehensive, long-term strategy for restoration projects. This strategy will rank subwatersheds based on restoration needs on the condition of their habitats, biotic integrity, water quality, pollutant loads, existing restoration efforts and availability of known watershed champions. This assessment provides guidance for SRA’s future protection and restoration efforts.
  2. Focused Action: Our focus shifts to actionable plans for a chosen priority subwatershed. Driven by data, existing plans, and community input, we are taking tangible steps for restoration.

SRA’s Process

The first step is to collect and collate existing data and explore existing restoration plans. This information guides the creation of a matrix and ranking system for all 60 subwatersheds based on ecosystem health and need for restoration efforts. We considered ecological condition, planning needs, and community input.

Next, SRA and CWP calculated the data and assembled a Steering Committee to select a top-priority subwatershed. Based on this effort, our top three priority subwatersheds for restoration are: 1) Weems Creek, 2) Spa Creek, and 3) Picture Spring Branch. Over the next several years, SRA will be creating action plans to identify and prioritize specific restoration projects in the top ten priority subwatersheds (Figure 1). 

Figure 1. Top 10 priority subwatersheds for restoration

Using desktop and field assessments, we identify restoration opportunities. With engagement from the community through stakeholder meetings, we can create a detailed subwatershed action plan covering project concepts, estimated costs and benefits, and a roadmap for implementation. SRA is currently working on this step for our top three priority subwatersheds. 

Turning Plans into Reality

The final plan isn’t just a document; it’s a roadmap for implementing restoration projects that positively impact local water quality, habitats, and communities.

Covering 81 mi² in Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis, Severn River Association is dedicated to the restoration and protection of the Severn River watershed. Our focus is on restoration project specifics – where to install restoration practices, their impact, cost, and the path forward. With 60 subwatersheds and numerous community groups, SRA takes on the role of a lead coordinator, weaving together a cohesive strategy.

This Severn River Action plan will provide the scientific analysis that funders want to see and will help us when seeking future grant funding for implementation of projects.

If you know about areas within any of our top 10 priority subwatersheds where there is erosion, flooding, or other opportunities for stormwater management and to reduce nutrient and sediment input into streams, creeks and the Severn River, please contact SRA’s Restoration Manager, Ben Fertig, ben@severnriver.org

Thank you to National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for funding this important project!