Campus Creek Restoration

The Campus Creek restoration project, designed to address stormwater runoff and erosion within the creek, was completed in November 2019 by UMD Facilities Management.  After 10 years of planning, the project was funded in large part by grants from Maryland DNR and the UMD Sustainability Fund.  The project restores over 3000 feet of the creek, starting behind Oakland Hall, and extending to the east side of the School of Public Health. As part of this effort, over 700 native species of trees were planted within the creek corridor. 
 
A series of step pools were created to slow the water’s movement through the creek bed, preventing erosion using a technique known as Regenerative Stream Conveyance (RSC). These pools slow the water flowing through the creek, reducing flooding, erosion and sedimentation, meaning less muddy waters.  In certain parts of the stream, water flows into flood plains during heavy rain. This mimics naturally occurring wetland habitats found in the area. The flood plains are low-lying, shallow areas adjacent to the creek, designed to receive water during heavy rains, then recede.  This wet/dry cycle creates a unique habitat that sustains the life of a number of native plants and animals.   
 
407 acres drain into the restored section of the creek, and account for 105 acres of paved (or impervious) area.  Of the 1340 acres of the UMD campus, 454 acres are impervious such as our roadways, parking lots, rooftops, and sidewalks. These impervious areas prevent stormwater from soak into the ground, and create runoff that spurs erosion, pollution, and harms the health of our waterways and the species that call them home.  Stormwater regulations require the University to treat at least 20% of our existing impervious area, which equals approximately 91 acres.  So the Campus Creek Restoration goes well beyond our requirement for impervious runoff treatment! 
 
Learn more from the UMD Arboretum and see before and after pictures of the Campus Creek on the Progress Hub.

Photo by Meg Smolinski, Arborteum Outreach Coordinator, UMD Facilities Management. 
 
Adapted from an article written by Michael Carmichael, Stormwater Manager and Maintenance Inspector, UMD Facilities Management.