Over the years, Paint Branch has exhibited many problems typically associated with urban streams. This is often due to increased urban runoff and loss of adjacent forest and wetlands (riparian habitat), among other reasons. Ultimately, the stream changes, resulting in fish blockages, lack of aquatic habitat, and poor water quality. The Paint Branch Fish Passage and Stream Restoration Project was a large stream restoration project in which the US Army Corps of Engineers partnered with Prince George's County Department of Environmental Resources, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and the University of Maryland to restore approximately one mile of Paint Branch. Note that this reach of Paint Branch was very important as it connects to other recently completed stream restoration projects, thereby creating a long reach of Paint Branch that has been restored.
The project area is located in the southern portion of the Anacostia River subwatershed and starts where Paint Branch goes under State Route 193 (University Boulevard/Greenbelt Road) to the north and ends where Paint Branch goes under U.S. Route 1 (Baltimore Avenue) to the south, including several hundred linear feet where the stream is within the northeastern district of the university. The goal of the project is to create a stable stream condition and provide habitat for resident and migratory aquatic resources. The project addresses known fish blockages in Paint Branch and provides additional spawning habitat for river herring. Most of the work within the university was completed from 2012 through 2014, with work continuing upstream towards U.S. Route 1 in 2014.