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February 7, 2019

Bacteria Levels Decreasing At Church Creek Headwaters!

Church Creek in Annapolis, MD is the most polluted creek in the South River Watershed and has been a high priority restoration goal since the Federation’s first strategic restoration plan in 2005.

Over 50% of its 1,300 acre watershed contains impervious surfaces (watersheds start see impairment for wildlife at 5%). The creek struggled under the immense amount of polluted stormwater, leaking sewage and septic systems, and long history of illegal dumping.

The Church Creek Headwaters Restoration project installed in 2014 aimed to transform the existing  braided ditches into a series of cascading sand and gravel step pools that help slow down and filter out harmful dirt, nutrients, and inorganic metals before reaching the tidal portion of the creek. Over 20,000 native trees, shrubs, and plants were planted. We are excited to see that harmful bacteria levels have been steadily decreasing since the restoration project was installed in 2014.



The acceptable concentration of Enterococci bacteria for swimming and other direct water contact is less than 104 (cfu) colony forming units/100ml.  Anne Arundel County has a 48 hour no swimming/recreational guidance of water ways after a rain event. Please remember that it is not recommended to swim within 48 hours of a rain event of 1 inch or more.

We are looking forward to what our other research projects, including the one with Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, will tell us about the impact of our restoration work on water quality and wildlife populations.