Stormwater Management at the Giant on Bay Ridge Rd

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Severn River Association (SRA) has won a $47,299 grant from Chesapeake Bay Trust Watershed Assistance Grant Program (WAGP) and funding partners Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Department of Environment, and Chesapeake Bay Program. SRA is contracting with BayLand Consultants and Designers (BayLand) to design and permit two micro-bioretention facilities as stormwater best management practice (BMP) retrofits to treat impervious area runoff. The project is located at the Bay Forest Shopping Plaza on Bay Ridge Rd., owned by the Giant and managed by KeyPoint Partners, LLC. Let me know what you think at 

This project will alleviate flooding in the parking lot of the shopping center. Further, as a commercial property along a busy road this will be a high-visibility project providing additional benefits such as education/awareness of stormwater pollution and its management.

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SRA is a 501c3 non-profit organization with experience and success at pursuing funding and project management for pollution reduction and environmental restoration. Our vision is a thriving Severn River by 2050, and 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. 

Project Origin & Objectives

This project was originally identified in the 2017 Back Creek Watershed Action Plan (Figure 1), developed with funding from Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) Watershed Assistance Grant program. 

The objectives of this project are to 1) Improve water quality (WQ) in the Severn River by reducing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment flow from stormwater (SW) runoff and 2) Generate pollution reduction credits for the City of Annapolis (the City), as required under the county’s municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permit. 

Figure 1. Image and description of a) retrofit RR-21-A and b) RR-21-B included in the Back Creek Watershed Action Plan.

Project Summary

Developed in partnership with BayLand Consultants and Designers, our project focuses on the installation of two micro-bioretention facilities at strategic locations within the Back Creek subwatershed. These facilities will serve as stormwater best management practices, capturing and treating runoff from impervious areas to reduce pollution entering the Severn River.

The site is in Annapolis, MD and located within the Back Creek subwatershed of the Severn River. It is bounded by Georgetown Road (north), Bay Ridge Road (west), and Edgewood Road (south). The two facilities are proposed in open spaces near the entrance into the parking lot off of Georgetown Rd (Figure 2).

Micro-bioretention facilities capture and treat runoff from discrete impervious areas by passing it through a filter bed mixture of sand, soil, and organic matter. Filtered runoff will then infiltrate into the underlying soils. Bioretention facilities are slightly more robust than rain gardens and can handle more flow and higher concentrations of runoff. Excess runoff can be directed to the existing storm drain system on site. BayLand completed a site visit, an initial site assessment, and assessed the existing underground utility as-built records. After compiling and assessing the site data, BayLand confirmed that each location is viable for implementation of a stormwater control BMP retrofit. The presence of utilities like electrical conduit, water and sewer infrastructure will present a complicated retrofit that will impact the ability to fully utilize the open space available.

The facilities will temporarily pond stormwater at a depth of 12 inches while it infiltrates through the bioretention soil media into the underlying soils. The existing onsite soils are urban land (Uz, Hydrologic Soil Group D) and have low infiltration rates. BayLand will investigate the potential need for installation of an underdrain during design. BayLand will conduct infiltration testing for both bioretention facilities to determine that soils meet mandated minimum infiltration rates. Either way, an underlying layer of sand will be installed below the filter media to facilitate infiltration with the in-situ soils below the sand layer. In situ soils will be rototilled to a depth of six inches to guarantee the soils are not compacted and to further promote infiltration. If a proper overflow connection cannot be made for an overflow inlet to the existing storm drain network, then once the facilities capacity has been reached, any excess stormwater runoff will follow the existing drainage pattern.

What’s the Big Deal About Stormwater, Anyway?

Great question! 

As you’re probably already well aware, storms can cause flooding and erosion. Does something like this look familiar? (Photo credit: Jane Hawkey, Integration and Application Network (

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 Environmental Benefits

  • Decrease harmful effects of flooding
  • Decreased nutrient & sediment pollution in the Severn – smaller and fewer ‘dead zones’ (maybe we even get rid of them altogether!)
  • Native plants will attract pollinators (birds, butterflies, bats and bees)
  • Increased biodiversity
  • Stronger, more resilient environment


  • May 2023 – SRA met with KeyPoint Partners to discuss and agree to move forward with the project proposal.
  • December 2023 – SRA submitted the proposal for engineering design
  • February 2024 – CBT awarded funding for the project
  • March to July 2024 – Field investigations and base map preparation leading to ‘30% Design’
  • August 2024 to January 2025 – Completing the engineering design, getting to ‘60% Design’ and then ‘90% Design’. Obtaining all requisite permits. 

Ways You Can Help!

Community support is critical to the success of this grant. Specifically, there are several ways you can help reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution to Back Creek and the Severn River! 

  1. Reduce the amount of fertilizer you use on your lawn and/or garden – excess fertilizer gets washed away with rain and winds up in stormwater drains, which ultimately lead to the Severn. Fertilizers contain large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus. 
  2. Install rain gardens, conservation landscaping, or increase the amount of native plants around your property – these practices help soils soak up rain rather than letting it run off to drains. Native plants tend to have deeper, more robust root systems than lawn grasses which allows water to move down deeper into the soil and to naturally recharge the groundwater.
  3. Pick up after pets – left alone, dog waste and its nitrogen will wind up down storm drains and in the Severn.
  4. Maintain/replace your septic system (if relevant) – regularly inspect and maintain your septic system to prevent leaks or overflows that could release nitrogen.
  5. Get involved with SRA!Volunteer with us to remove invasive species, grow oysters for restoration reefs, monitor water quality, find out about other restoration projects we are working on, and sign up for our newsletter

For more information on participating in any of the ways above, please reach out to SRA’s Restoration Manager, Ben Fertig: 

Community Questions & Concerns

SRA wants to make sure that the project is something that the community will enjoy (in addition to all the great environmental benefits). Keep in mind that, as with so many things in life, there are trade-offs to consider. We want to understand what you value so the project will reflect those values. So, right now we want your feedback, especially while the project is still in its early stages. Now is the best opportunity to make sure to get it right. Please let me know what you think. You can email me any time,

​​Let SRA know your thoughts about the project. We will update this section with how these will be addressed.


SRA will host a Google photo album for the project. Photos will be added to track progress. 


None yet.


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1. This project has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under assistance agreement C2-96389001 to Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and/or C2-95306601 to Maryland Department of Environment (MDE). The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the EPA, nor does the EPA endorse trade names or recommend the use of commercial products mentioned in this document.