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Hi! My name is Ben Fertig, I’m the Restoration Manager here at Severn River Association (SRA). My job is to help communities improve their local environment and restore the Severn River. Good communication is really important to me, so I’ve put together this page to let you know about what’s happening with stormwater management projects in Olde Severna Park. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please let me know! My email is email@example.com. Click on any picture to make it bigger or download.
Excessive runoff is causing erosion and sedimentation into Sullivan Cove and the Severn River. The polluted runoff causes algae blooms and dead zones in Round Bay and the River. In other words, the runoff lowers water quality in the Severn River.
Severn River Association (SRA) is helping the Olde Severna Park community to pursue funding from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to design and implement stormwater management projects to improve the problems caused by this runoff. SRA will work with Olde Severna Park to secure grant money to fund a project design and construction and help manage the project. SRA’s mission is to connect, restore, and protect the Severn River and this project aligns with our mission.
Great question! As you’re probably already well aware, storms can cause flooding and erosion. Does something like this look familiar?
When water runs downhill it carries sediments (to which phosphorus ‘sticks’), dissolves nitrogen and carries these nutrients with it, down to the Severn and the Chesapeake Bay. Nutrients sound good, right? We need nutrition after all.
Yes – but to a point.
When there are too many nutrients (either nitrogen or phosphorus), it spurs algae populations to grow out of control. Nitrogen and phosphorus are basically what’s in plant fertilizer, as many gardeners know. The algae population grows so much that it uses up all the nutrients, but then the algae ‘starve’ to death and sink to the bottom of the water. The algae then decompose and the bacteria decomposing the algae uses up oxygen, creating dead zones where oxygen levels are too low for most organisms (e.g. rockfish, oysters, and crabs) to survive. Overgrowth of algae and dead zones decrease biodiversity which in turn impacts humans and other organisms that feed and rely on these aquatic organisms.
SRA water quality monitoring in the Severn River records low oxygen levels frequently during summer that indicates the presence of dead zones throughout the river. This is a problem going on in your backyard.
This project will decrease the stormwater runoff that contributes to these dead zones. Additionally, the projects will help curtail the flooding, erosion, and sedimentation in the community.
The goal of this effort is to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution associated with stormwater that drains and flows into Sullivan Cove and the Severn River, which has been declared “impaired” under the Clean Water Act for these three pollutants.
SRA will work with Ecosystem Planning and Restoration (EPR) to design and implement a cutting edge stormwater management system that will reduce and treat stormwater runoff from Park Dr. to Sullivan Cove. This stormwater management project includes a Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance (SPSC) system that slows down, spreads out, and soaks in the stormwater which helps to reduce erosion of community property, clean and filter runoff, and save the Severn. The parking area will be regraded to direct SW runoff flows into the proposed SPSC. Native plants will be installed and invasive species will be removed. Potentially, speed humps on Park Dr. may further capture stormwater runoff and will be evaluated for inclusion based on water quality improvement.
SRA and EPR will solicit community feedback and input to make sure your concerns and interests are heard.
SRA is seeking funding for this project through the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) Watershed Assistance Grant Program (WAGP). SRA will submit the proposal to CBT. If SRA’s WAGP application is unsuccessful, SRA will look for other sources of funding to design, permit, and build this project, like Maryland Department of Natural Resources Grants Gateway.
This project will decrease the nutrient runoff in stormwater that contributes to dead zones in the Severn River. Stormwater management can improve the Severn River’s water quality so that the ecosystem can flourish. Additionally, the projects will help slow down the stormwater which can help with flooding and erosion in the community.
Community support is critical to a successful grant proposal. Specifically, there are several ways you can choose to support this project. Any and all are appreciated!
If you are interested in participating in any of the ways above, please reach out to SRA’s Restoration Manager, Ben Fertig: firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Specifications for the Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance (SPSC):
Square feet to be designed: 4,130 sq ft
Drainage area treated: 54 acres – Note that this includes runoff being supplied from beyond the natural drainage area that enters the project site via the existing storm drain network along several streets, not just Park Dr.
Impervious area treated: 2.8 acres
Total Nitrogen Removed: 35.2 lbs of nitrogen per year
Total Phosphorus Removed: 5.8 lbs of phosphorus per year
Total Sediments Removed: 15,233 lbs of sediments per year
Is that a lot?
Well, yes and no, and it probably depends on your perspective. Back in 2006, the County calculated that there were 760 lbs of nitrogen loading per year and 89 lbs of phosphorus loading per year. So this project will remove about 5% of the total nitrogen load per year and 6.5% of the total phosphorus load per year. That may not seem like much, but remember that some of that loading is natural, and for the rest, it’s still a very cost-effective project as these things go. Comment end
Potential project area and plan: A Step Pool Storm Conveyance (SPSC) with a level spreader will be installed in the area drawn in blue. Rerouting the existing stormwater pipe into the SPSC will help treat the stormwater entering the watershed.
See the photo gallery HERE