Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2013 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Implications of Restoration Design for Hydrologic Response in Urban Streams
Lindner, Garth
Co-Authors: Garth Lindner Andrew J. Miller

Although the practice of urban stream restoration is widespread and growing, the ability of reach-scale channel designs to mitigate watershed scale changes in hydrologic response associated with urbanization remains poorly defined. Monitoring of hydrologic response during the planning phase and mechanistic modeling of restoration design scenarios provide important tools for improving restoration design and establishing criteria for evaluating success. Here, we present the scope of an ongoing collaborative research project between a local government agency, a private engineering firm, and UMBC. The project centers on a planned restoration that encompasses approximately 4500 feet of degraded surface stream channel in a highly urbanized subwatershed nested within the Dead Run watershed in western Baltimore County. Two-dimensional depth-averaged hydrodynamic modeling of high and low flows along the stream reach is used to answer whether a restoration is capable of mitigating the hydrologic consequences of intensive upstream urban development. Over 1 year of stream flow records are available from each of the three tributaries that constitute the upstream ends of the restoration domain, which supplement 6 years of data from a stream gage at the downstream end of the domain. The model is built from 1-meter LiDAR and detailed channel and floodplain surveys. The stream flow records from the four gages are used to calibrate the model in order to capture its sensitivity to alternative restoration designs. This project is a unique opportunity to compare the hydrologic performance of alternative restoration design scenarios with pre-restoration conditions.