EASTON — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently awarded ShoreRivers $1.95 million to implement three large restoration projects, all in the Chester River watershed.
According to a news release, targeting high nutrient-export agricultural subwatersheds in areas prioritized for funding through the DNR Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund has proven a winning strategy for making rapid and significant progress toward meeting pollution reduction goals and habitat creation goals.
ShoreRivers has continued to promote a balance between a prosperous agricultural industry on the Delmarva Peninsula and healthy, thriving waterways and wetlands.
Through outreach, involvement in science-based agronomy and ecology research efforts, and an emphasis on innovation, ShoreRivers strives to maintain an excellent reputation with landowners and farmers throughout the region, the release states.
The first farm project will address a severe gully erosion and degraded stream draining predominantly agricultural land in the Southeast Creek watershed in Queen Anne’s County.
The project includes installing a step pool system and series of earthen berms in the farm field to allow rainwater to slowly infiltrate before reaching the incised gully and restoring 250 linear feet of eroding stream bank to a more natural habitat.
The second farm project, also in the Southeast Creek watershed, will convert 6.9 acres of farm field and 1,325 linear feet of an active, incised agricultural drainage ditch to a large, natural wetland complex that features a series of berms and ponding areas and addresses a failed, eroded grassed waterway.
For the third farm project, ShoreRivers will construct a stream and wetland complex stretching nearly 6,000 linear feet and encompassing more than 15 acres in the headwaters of Morgan Creek in Kent County.
This restoration complex will receive and treat runoff from 482 acres of surrounding row crop agriculture.
The project will add ecological uplift to the stream segment; add retention, storage, and resiliency to protect downstream forested stream habitat; provide opportunity for nutrient processing through natural stream and wetland systems; and include a 6.5-acre buffer strip of warm season grass and shrub habitat to connect two existing quail habitat areas.
In the past decade, ShoreRivers has installed 186 restoration projects in the mid- to upper Eastern Shore, reducing more than 144,000 pounds of nitrogen, 17,000 pounds of phosphorus and 5,400 tons of sediments from polluting the waterways each year, the release states.