Stormwater Management in Epping Forest

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Hi! My name is Ben Fertig, I’m the Restoration Manager 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 Epping Forest. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please let me know! My email is ben@severnriver.org .
Click on any picture to make it bigger or download

 

Project Origination

Several years ago, Epping Forest commissioned the Center for Watershed Protection to make an assessment of stormwater issues in Epping Forest, which they published in 2017. The report identifies several areas that could address stormwater, which would reduce erosion and decrease nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution from entering the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay. You can read the whole report if you want, which will give you information about what they did and what they found, as well as details about all the specific projects (there are a lot!)

Severn River Association (SRA) is helping the Epping Forest community to pursue funding from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to design and implement these stormwater management projects. Our mission is to connect the people who live, work, and play on the Severn River to restore  and protect it for all of our communities. This project directly aligns with our mission. 

What’s the Big Deal About Stormwater, Anyway?

Great question! As you’re probably already well aware, storms can cause flooding and erosion. Epping Forest is particularly susceptible to these because of the narrow streets and steep slopes. Does 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 use 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.

Project Summary

 

Map of all 10 projects identified by the Center for Watershed Protection. Sites 13, 11, 4, 2, 3, and 10 drain to Saltworks Creek. Sites 16, 6, and 12 drain to Clements Creek. Site 8 drains directly to the Severn River. 

The goal of this effort is to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution associated with stormwater that drains and flows into Saltworks Creek and Clements Creek,  tributaries of the Severn River, which has been declared “impaired” under the Clean Water Act for these three pollutants.

The project will be divided into two based on the watershed the sites flow into. Sites 2, 3, 4, 10, and 11 will be grouped into the Saltworks Creek design and plan. Sites 6, 8, and 12 will be grouped into the Clements Creek design and plan (even though site 8 drains directly to the Severn River). 

You’ll notice that Site 16, the new wetlands by the tennis courts, is mainly completed already. Also, the Epping Forest Board of Directors will be taking on site 13. SRA will be leading the charge for the remaining 8 sites.

SRA will work with contractors to design and implement the stormwater management projects that address the problems at each site. These stormwater management projects can include Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance and bioretention ponds. These stormwater management projects slow down, spread out, and soak in the stormwater which helps reduce erosion of community property, clean and filter runoff, and save the Severn. SRA and contractors will also provide time for 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 these projects, like Maryland Department of Natural Resources Grants Gateway and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Small Watershed Grants program. 

SRA’s work for the Severn, including on environmental restoration projects like this one, is only possible because of private donations from our over 500 members. Grants like this one only cover a small fraction of our costs. Every member makes an annual donation and those who give $1000 or more annually become one of our critically important major donors.

Environmental Benefits

The Epping Forest community was built in the 1920s, before modern stormwater management techniques were required in subdivisions, which contributes to the issues faced by the community now. The projects described here 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 organisms can diversify and flourish. Additionally, the projects will help slow down the stormwater which can help with flooding, erosion, and sedimentation in the community. 

Ways You Can Help!

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! 

  1. You can allow use of a portion of your land for the project.
  2. You can allow SRA and/or its contractors to access a site via your property 
  3. You can pledge to help volunteer with planting and/or maintaining native plants as part of the project’s installation.
  4. You can install a rain barrel to capture and slow down stormwater coming off your roof.
  5. You can install a rain garden on your property.
  6. Other …. There are lots of ways to be involved. If you have an idea or want to discuss, please reach out!

If you are interested in participating in any of the ways above, please reach out to SRA’s Restoration Manager, Ben Fertig: ben@severnriver.org 

Timeline

  • August 2023 – SRA solicited design contractors
  • September 2023 – site visits with potential contractors, contractor selection
  • October 2023 – contractor selection
  • December 6, 2023 – deadline for SRA submission of the Clements Creek and the Saltworks Creek grant proposals to Chesapeake Bay Trust
  • March 2024 – hear if proposal is funded. If funded, design work begins. If not, identify alternative funding source
  • January 2025 – design work completed, permit applications, begin writing proposal for construction funding
  • March 2025 – proposal submission for construction funding
  • July 2025 – hear if construction is funded, if so, construction begins
  • September 2025 – construction completed, SRA responsible for maintenance for 5 years
  • September 2030 – maintenance responsibility transfers to Epping Forest

Current Progress

  • October 2023: SRA is working with the Epping Forest Board of Directors to select one or more contractors to design projects at the 8 sites. There could be one or more contractors involved for the design permitting process.  
  • November 2023: In consultation with SRA, the Epping Forest Board of Directors selected BayLand Consultants and Designers (hereafter referred to as BayLand) as the contractor to work with for both the Clements Creek sites and the Saltworks Creek sites.

Conceptual Design Plans

Saltworks Creek

Map of all projects identified. Project sites that drain into Saltworks Creek (sites 2, 3, 4, 10, and 11) circled in cyan.

Site 2: Chapel

Located north of the chapel, the proposed SPSC spans three different properties. Currently this is a severely eroded gully with deep leaf litter. The drainage area includes a few houses upstream and some of Robinson Road, Tendrying Trail and Roydon Trail. There appears to be a clogged, insufficiently sized inlet on the opposite side of the street. If the culvert under the road still functions, it could perhaps be replaced with one capable of handling larger flow. Another inlet might be placed on the SPSC side of the road that captures stormwater from the other side of the street into the SPSC. Further survey may be required to determine if a new inlet can be connected to the existing pipe.

Conceptual design of Site 2 from BayLand

Site 2 aerial view with drainage area and potential retrofit location in blue and red

Clogged inlet and road at the top of Site 2.

Schematics of potential inlet pipe into Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance (left) and of Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance (right) at Site 2.

Site 3: Tendrying Trail

Site 3 is located near the end of Tendrying Trail, on the north side of the road. The initial slope is severe but lessens downstream where it merges with another channel. The gully captures water from Tendrying Trail, Westmoreland Trail, and surrounding homes. Slopes have evidence of erosion, likely from water coming from streets. To build the inlet and SPSC at this location, the road area may need to be rebuilt. An inlet could be placed along the road to capture stormwater and send it into the SPSC, or a wide SPSC could be built to capture the water across the gully. 

Conceptual design of Site 3 from BayLand

Aerial view of Site 3, with drainage area outlined and potential location of Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance in blue and red.

Photo of Site 3 and the steep slope of the gully

Site 4: Robinhood Rd by the Circle

Site 4 is in a gully between two properties off Robinhood Road. The SPSC potentially spans across two homeowners on either side. The gully is not extremely steep, but there is some  erosion at both homeowners’ yards. At this location, there is an existing inlet that collects the stormwater and delivers it to a plastic pipe in the gully. The inlet is severely clogged with leaf  litter and the pipe is exposed and is (at the time of site assessment) broken in various places. The inlet may need to be replaced with something that can better handle leaf litter. The pipe may need to be replaced with something more sturdy or may need to be buried underground. Further investigation may be needed to determine the presence of utilities that could impede construction of the BMP. If utilities prohibit SPSC construction, perhaps replace the inlet and pipe with an outlet into riprap that decreases stormwater energy.

Conceptual design of Site 4 from BayLand

Aerial view of Site 4, with drainage area outlined and potential location of Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance

Photo of pipe in gully at Site 4 at the time of site assessment (2017). Since the site assessment, severe erosion has occurred creating a ~6 foot ‘cavern’ underneath a large sycamore tree near the top of the pipe, posing a potentially urgent risk to safety and private property.

Schematic of potential Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance at Site 4.

Site 10: Riverview Trail

Site 10 is located off Riverview Trail near the sandbar area in Saltworks Creek. Some of the proposed retrofit area is on Epping Forest property, but most of it belongs to the homeowner on the west side. The water comes off Epping Way and Riverview Trail, as well as from the homes uphill. This site is different from the other proposed SPSC locations in that the road upstream of the gully is fairly flat and wide. The curb may need to be removed on the south side of Riverview Trail to allow for the stormwater to flow into the SPSC as sheet flow, rather than installing an inlet. Construction access may be easier than at other sites due to a wider, flatter gully.


Conceptual design of Site 10 from BayLand

Aerial view of Site 10, with drainage area outlined and potential location of Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance in blue and red.

Schematic of potential Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance at Site 10.

Site 11: Robinhood Rd between Birdbrook and Harfield Trails

Site 11 is located uphill from Robinhood Trail, between Harfield Trail and Roydon Trail. The retrofit sites are potentially located on the two homeowners’ properties directly uphill. There are two ditches that contribute water from the houses upstream on to Robinhood Trail, and then over to the large ditch on the other side of the road. The ditch downstream did not show strong signs of erosion; therefore, a practice was not proposed. The water from uphill will likely eventually erode the road, and may require repaving. The proposed practice could be two SPSC systems where the current ditches exist, and a swale connecting the two SPSCs, parallel to the road. On the downhill side of the swale, water may enter an inlet and be transported to the other side of the road. The outlet of the pipe could be directed onto a gravel pad to decrease erosive forces of water exiting.

Conceptual design of Site 11 from BayLand

Aerial view of Site 11, with drainage area outlined and potential location of Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance in red and blue.

Potential locations of the two Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance systems where the current ditches exist.

Clements Creek

Map of all projects identified. Project sites that drain into Clements Creek and the Severn River (sites 6, 8, & 12) circled in cyan.

Site 6: Broadlee Trail

Site 6 is located uphill from the Waterworks building and the tennis courts. There are three homeowners for the proposed area. There is a retaining wall and a parking area upstream of the 6’ gully. The stormwater is coming down RSC from the property and road into the parking area, eroding the gravel parking and gully. Due to this erosive runoff, an inlet to capture the water could be an option, or water could flow into an SPSC. The inlet could be placed at or near the gravel parking. The retaining wall may need to be replaced after construction. This project will decrease the amount of water running into the community area downhill. 

November 2023 Update: None of the consultants that came to take a look at this site felt that they could cost-effectively take care of this site at this time. The failing retaining wall will require a geotechnical engineer, which will add cost but not further reduce the erosion or nutrients or sediments getting into the Severn. So this site becomes less attractive for the specific grant program SRA is currently working on for the rest of the sites. For the time being, we will hold off on getting a design and permit for Site 6, but we come up with an alternative funding plan for this site.

Site 6 aerial view with drainage area and potential retrofit location

Potential Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance at Site 6

Site 8: Drevar Park

Site 8 is located at Drevar Park in the Northeast section of Epping Forest. A stormwater retention pond was installed previously, but has since almost entirely filled in with sediment. The park is owned by Epping Forest HOA and the drainage area includes over 9 acres of the community. This area could be converted into a bioretention area. The bioretention area could be larger than the existing pond to treat a greater volume of stormwater. A forebay might be needed to capture sediment before it enters the bioretention to decrease the likelihood of failure and make the practice more maintainable. The existing riprap swale might need to be cleared of sediment or replaced. A new inlet could also be added at the north side of the park at Severn Road by regrading and adding a riprap channel. This corner of the road experiences standing water and flooding. Allowing it to enter the bioretention would probably alleviate some of this.

Conceptual design of Site 8 from BayLand

Aerial view of Site 8, with drainage area and potential location of bioretention.

Site 12: Drevar Trail

Water comes downhill from Drevar Trail and pools at the bottom of the hill. Site 12 is located on the west end of Drevar Trail. The site could either be designed as a series of bioretention cells or as a SPSC. For either design, Drevar Trail will likely need to be regraded to allow flow to enter the BMP. The existing walking path from Drevar Trail onto Severn Road adjacent to the proposed site would remain. This site has high visibility with the path and proximity to the clubhouse, making it a good location for a retrofit. If designed as a series of bioretention cells, they can be placed along the slope of the hill. The road will need to be regraded to allow for flow to enter the bioretention areas evenly. There currently exists a walking path from Drevar Trail onto Severn Road adjacent to the proposed site that the community wants to remain.

Conceptual design of Site 12 from BayLand

Aerial view of Site 12, with drainage area outlined and potential location of Best Management Practices.

Potential bioretention cells or Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance pools at Site 12.

Community Comments, Questions & Concerns

Let me know what you think – comments, questions, concerns, suggestions. 

  • When will Site 6 be designed?
    • To be determined. Right now the priority is to get the proposals submitted to CBT for the rest of the sites. SRA will survey the funding options again in early 2024 to identify potential sources of funding. Possibly, the geotechnical engineering for the retaining wall may need to be completed by the community before additional work focusing on the erosion control can happen.

Photos

Coming soon!

Presentations

Opportunities for stormwater and pollution reduction at Epping Forest – July 30, 2023