Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2014 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Impacts of stream restoration on reduction of sediment loads in an urban watershed
Kemper, John
Co-Authors: John Kemper (1), Andrew Miller (1,2), and Claire Welty (1,3) (1) UMBC Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education (2) UMBC Department of Geography and Environmental Systems (3) UMBC Department of Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental E

Abstract: Public agencies in Maryland and Pennsylvania are investing substantial resources in stream restoration and bank stabilization projects as a means of controlling export of sediment and attached nutrients. Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) credits for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment are determined from expert panel guidelines that define removal rates for stream restoration projects approved by the EPA Chesapeake Bay Programís Water Quality Goal Implementation Team in May 2013. However there are few continuous sediment-concentration records available to quantify urban sediment loads and virtually none to date that document changes in sediment load from pre-construction to the period after completion of a stream restoration project. CUERE has been collecting turbidity measurements at 30-minute intervals for six gaging stations in the Dead Run watershed since December 2012. We are beginning a new project funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust that involves collection of sediment concentration data in order to calibrate turbidity-concentration curves, which in turn will allow us to calculate sediment loads and yields for each station. This will enable us to compare loads before and after a major restoration project that is to be implemented in 2015 along the surface drainage network of the DR5 headwater tributary of Dead Run. A paired-watershed design allows comparison of sediment yields between DR5 and two other headwater tributaries of Dead Run (DR1 and DR2) that will not be affected by stream restoration, and a nested-watershed design will allow comparison of sediment yields at increasing spatial scales (DR5 -> DR4; DR1, 2 -> DR3; DR3, DR4 -> Dead Run at Franklintown) in order to assess whether impacts of restoration are detectable at increasing distances downstream of the restoration site.