Stormwater Management and Living Shoreline in Wardour

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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 the stormwater management along Wardour Reserve and the living shoreline in Wardour. 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 to download.

SRA is a 501c3 non-profit organization with experience and success with obtaining funding and exercising project management for pollution reduction and environmental restoration projects. 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 Origination

Excessive stormwater runoff is causing erosion and sedimentation into the Severn River. The polluted runoff causes algae blooms and dead zones in the River. In other words, the runoff lowers water quality in the Severn River. 

The Wardour Improvement Association contacted the City of Annapolis seeking help with erosion problems in their community. City personnel recommended the Severn River Association (SRA) to work with the Wardour Improvement Association to design a project to address these stormwater runoff issues. 

In February 2022, representatives from SRA, the Wardour community, CBT, and City officials, met to tour the community sites and discussed several Best Management Practices (BMP) opportunities for reducing stormwater runoff and increasing shoreline resiliency. 

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?

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.

SRA water quality monitoring in the Severn River records low oxygen levels frequently during summer, which indicates the presence of dead zones throughout the river, including areas close to the Wardour community.

The stormwater management project will decrease the stormwater runoff that contributes to these dead zones. Additionally, the project will help curtail the flooding, erosion, and sedimentation in the community. 

Project Summary

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

Through a combination of a $77,630 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust Anne Arundel County Watershed Restoration grant program and $3,896 from the Wardour Improvement Association, SRA has contracted BayLand Consultants & Designers Inc. (“BayLand”) to design and permit the stormwater BMP (best management practice) in Wardour Reserve and the living shoreline. These will improve water quality in the Severn River and improve community resilience to climate change. 

BayLand has designed a cutting edge stormwater management system that will reduce and treat stormwater runoff along the walkway to the wetland/shoreline between Alden Lane and Sherwood Road, northeast of Wardour Drive. This stormwater management project includes a series of filtration cells with native landscape plantings 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. Native plants will be installed and invasive species will be removed. 

The shoreline restoration site, east of the existing community beach and at the end of Wardour Drive, is being converted from a hard stone structure to a living revetment with marsh plantings. The existing stone revetment will remain in place to continue supporting the bank and will be covered with sand and marsh. The marsh will be able to grow upland with changes in sea levels protecting the existing shoreline. 

SRA and BayLand have solicited community feedback and input to make sure your concerns and interests have been heard. 

In December 2023, SRA submitted a proposal to fund the construction of the stormwater management and living shoreline from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Chesapeake and Coastal Grants Gateway. If SRA’s application is unsuccessful, SRA will look for other sources of funding to build this project. Or, we can always try again next year. 

Environmental Benefits

The stormwater mitigation 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. 

The living shoreline project will help the community become more resilient to climate change and prevent shoreline erosion. The living shoreline can also provide new habitats for the River’s wildlife.

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 pledge to help volunteer with planting and/or maintaining native plants or removing litter as part of the project’s installation.
  2. If our current grant proposal is not accepted, you can work with SRA to respond to DNR’s feedback.
  3. 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

  • January 2022– SRA solicited design contractors, conducted site visits with potential contractors, and selected BayLand as the contractor.
  • February 2022 – representatives from SRA, the Wardour community, CBT, and City officials met to tour the community sites and discussed several Best Management Practices (BMP) opportunities 
  • June 2022 – SRA received a grant from the CBT Anne Arundel County Watershed Restoration Grant Program to design and permit these BMPs
  • October 2023 – design work nearly completed, permit applications, began writing proposal for construction funding
  • December 2023 – proposal submission to DNR for construction funding
  • January 31, 2024 – anticipated receipt of City of Annapolis grading permit
  • March-June 2024 – hear if construction is funded by DNR
  • August/September 2024 – construction begins
  • November 2024 – construction completed, SRA responsible for maintenance for 5 years
  • November 2029 – maintenance responsibility transfers to Wardour 

Current Progress

  • Design is complete – only need to address some minor comments to receive the City of Annapolis grading permit and go through BayLand’s final QA/QC process.
  • Federal and state permits have been received
  • SRA has applied to the MD Department of Natural Resources to fund the construction. 

Design Plan

Current Specifications for the Best Management Practice: 

  • Drainage area treated: 11.98 acres
  • Impervious area treated: 0.7 acres
  • Total Nitrogen Removed: 35.7 lbs of nitrogen per year
  • Total Phosphorus Removed: 7.2 lbs of phosphorus per year
  • Total Sediments Removed: 9.3 tons of sediments per year

The filtration cell system will provide water quality treatment by promoting subsurface flow through the sand-seepage system and temporary ponding of stormwater. Each filtration cell will include a cobble weir and a filtration basin to temporarily pond and treat storm flows. The filtration cells will be sized to convey and treat runoff to the maximum extent practicable (MEP) while minimizing impacts to trees, encroachment onto private properties, and maintaining sufficient distance from City infrastructure. The filtration cells increase ecological uplift so that the proposed system is self-sustaining and stable long-term.

Current Specifications for the Living Shoreline: 

  • Shoreline length: 153 ft
  • Impervious area treated: 6.12 acres
  • Total Nitrogen Removed: 26.5 lbs of nitrogen per year
  • Total Phosphorus Removed:18.7 lbs of phosphorus per year
  • Total Sediments Removed: 25.1 tons of sediments per year

The shoreline improvements will convert 103 ft of hard armored shoreline to living shoreline. The stone groins will protect the living shoreline from boat wakes and wave energy. Their design will be based on the littoral drift of the Severn River to promote accumulation of sand and maintain the natural geomorphology of the system. Marsh grasses are proposed and will incorporate a ‘marsh migration area’ to allow the marsh grasses and sand to mitigate for impacts due to sea level rise. 

To get any or all of the following documents, please contact Ben Fertig, Restoration Manager ben@severnriver.org:

  • 30% Design
  • 30% Report
  • 60% Design
  • 60% Report
  • 90% Design
  • 90% Report
  • Construction Cost Estimate
  • Joint Federal/State Permit

Maintenance

Maintenance is critical to making sure that the stormwater management and living shorelines perform as expected and efficiently reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution. 

BayLand has outlined a maintenance plan for both the stormwater management and the living shoreline in its design plan set. SRA is working to put this together into an illustrated and easy-to-read format.

Once constructed, SRA is responsible for maintaining both the stormwater management and living shoreline components for the first five years. After that, the responsibility is transferred to the Wardour Improvement Association. 

Stormwater Management Maintenance

More information coming soon.

Living Shoreline Maintenance

SRA will be responsible for maintaining the living shoreline for the first five years according to the standard Maryland Department of the Environment Marsh Maintenance Plan.

Wardour Living Shoreline Marsh Maintenance Plan.pdf

Community Concerns

Mid October, 2023 – MD DNR, City of Annapolis, SRA met with WIA board members for a site visit to pursue construction funding from MD DNR. 

August 14th, 2023 – Executive Committee of Wardour voted and approved the stormwater management project at Wardour Reserve and a living shoreline at Crescent Beach. They decided not to do Wardour Beach and Gudger Beach at this time. 

Early August, 2023 – Wardour Beach had remaining community concerns. SRA and BayLand suggest proceeding with Wardour Reserve and Crescent Beach projects. SRA requests CBT for a change of scope request to remove Wardour Beach from the grant application, which was approved. 

Mid July, 2023 – WIA Board members met with Ben to discuss Wardour Beach plans. New plan eliminated a third filtration cell and moved the first cell up to the intersection of Alden Lane. Property was generously donated to allow this change, however, grant money could not cover the new requirements to include donated property. 

June and Early July, 2023 – Community brought up concerns about maintenance costs. SRA will be in charge of maintenance for the first 5 years after construction. Therefore, the community has approximately 5-6 years to raise funds for maintenance. 

June 11th, 2023 – Ben attended a community meeting at Wardour. 

May 2023 – Community discussed concerns about losing parts of Wardour Beach and long term costs for maintenance. SRA shared images of the Hillsmere project as examples of similar projects. 

March-April 2023 –  WIA Board meeting discussed 60% design concerns. Concerns included: outfall location and cell size, plantings, property lines, easements with the city and property owners, access to the beach, and living shoreline maintenance.

Community Questions

General Questions

Since SRA has committed to maintain these areas for 5 years, do they have an estimate of what they expect for maintenance costs?

  • We do not have a specific budget line item allocated for maintenance cost during the period of our responsibility. We estimate $2,600/year. 

Will the construction for the areas be done consecutively? 

  • We estimate construction would take 6-8 weeks. I suspect it would be done consecutively, but would defer to our contractor on what approach they thought most cost-effective. 

Apart from these projects, what does SRA know about phragmites removal and marsh restoration?

  • SRA has met with Bob vom Saal and Lynne Rockenbauch at Arlington Echo to see their work on phragmites removal with AA Watersheds Stewards Academy using methods developed by Dennis Whigham and Hope Carver of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. There is potential for SRA to use the methods to help with phragmites removal and marsh restoration in Wardour. 

Living Shoreline Questions

What is the construction timeline?

  • Construction will take 6-8 weeks and will start as soon as grant money is received. 

Are there time restrictions on permits?

  • We are given 5 years to use the funding. We will need to renew permits if construction funding is not received on time. 

What are the maintenance guidelines for the community? 

  • SRA will be responsible for the first 5 years of maintenance after construction completion. SRA will provide a maintenance manual for the community that will be uploaded to this web page. This web page will also house the photos throughout the construction process and upkeep to show the progress over the years. 

How is the living shoreline resilient to climate change?

  • The living shoreline will provide room for wetland growth and enough room for adjustments with sea level rise. This living shoreline will provide a buffer to the existing shoreline, protecting it from wakes. It will also provide new habitat for more organisms. 

Is the MDNR agreement the same as the MOU document? 

  • The community will sign a separate agreement with MDNR in addition to the MOU already signed among the community, SRA, and the City of Annapolis.

What are the specific maintenance requirements for the living shoreline?

  • The living shoreline maintenance requirements are the same as the rest of the project, and are reflected in paragraphs 1(j-m) of the maintenance agreement. It requires ensuring 85% survival of plantings and not disrupting the physical structures of the project (for example, by moving the rocks from where they are placed). A maintenance manual will be made for the community. 

Stormwater Mitigation Questions

Why is the impervious path removal and re-pavement required?

  • Repaving is required because access to City property and utilities needs to remain 
  • We discussed possibilities of using a geogrid or a more permeable medium. However, the funding focuses more on the stormwater management and less on pavement. It may require re-permitting if changes are made in pavement design.

What type of riprap will be used on the road running from Wardour Drive to the pump house station? 

  • Riprap is a 50/50 mix of “Class 0” and “Class 1” rocks, which means half will be ~ 7 inches in diameter (class 0) and half will be ~12 inches in diameter (class 1). These will be placed over a non-woven filter cloth. Riprap will be 12” deep maximum so the cloth will not be visible. 

How much does Hillsmere spend maintaining their project? If SRA maintains it, how much does it cost SRA?

  • Hillsmere budgeted $2,600/year to maintain the project. We do not know if they actually spend that.

How does the size of Hillsmere’s stormwater area compare to what’s being planned for Wardour’s properties?

  • The Hillsmere cells footprint is a total of 5,415 square feet and the contributing drainage area is 30 acres. Wardour’s Site 1 cells footprint totals 3,064 square feet and the contributing drainage area is 12 acres. Wardour’s site 2 cell footprint totals 670 square feet and the contributing drainage area is 6.9 acres.

Photos 

View photos of the project in this Google Photos album.

Presentations

None to date