MD - Fort Detrick's Stream Restoration Benefits Run From Local Watershed to Chesapeake Bay
Fort Detrick is home to Shookstown Creek, one of more than 100,000 rivers and streams that make up the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which covers 64,000 square miles across six states.
Over time, the creek lost its natural form, resulting in erosion, loss of habitat for plants and animals, and increased pollution.
Installation Management Command (IMCOM) invested $2.1 million to restore, realign, and stabilize 3,624 linear feet (.7 miles) of stream to a more natural state, create an additional 13,164 square feet (.3 acres) of wetlands, and plant approximately 800 native trees. Appropriate areas were also seeded with a pollinator seed mix, including milkweed, to support monarch butterfly populations. The stream restoration was completed over an eight-month period, from April to November 2020.
“Shookstown Creek is located in an interjurisdictional flood hazard watershed and a tributary of Carroll Creek which flows through downtown Frederick. The restoration activities will aid in the reduction of storm flows to Carroll Creek and help alleviate flooding of downtown Frederick,” said Mark Lewis, program manager for environmental sustainment at For Detrick. “The restoration further reduces nutrients and pollutants that could be transported to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
The ambitious project reduces stream bank erosion, vastly enhances aquatic habitat for plants and animals, and re-establishes critical connectivity to the floodplain and greater watershed. Ultimately, it will also reduce sediment and nutrient loading to the Chesapeake Bay, which is crucial for the health of the plants and animals that live there. Sediment clouds the water and can smother habitat for oysters and other wildlife, while nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous can cause algal blooms that reduce light infiltration to critical aquatic grasses.