The recent increase in the number of stream restoration practices being permitted in the State is due to many factors including water quality restoration goals required by Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits, the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs), and local TMDLs. See the following data chart for reference numbers of projects in Maryland:
Stream Restoration has been recognized by the Chesapeake Bay Program and the State of Maryland as providing numerous water quality and ecological benefits. The Phase 6 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model estimates the annual export of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment from a stream bed and bank source to the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay. This export of pollutants from Maryland’s nontidal streams to the Bay is the result of many different anthropogenic stressors to the State’s nontidal streams and floodplains, over the course of several hundred years. Typical stream restoration techniques aim to stabilize streambeds and banks to prevent erosion and sediment export, promote floodplain reconnection, enhance surface/groundwater interaction, promote nutrient cycling and denitrification, enhance sediment trapping in floodplains, and improve habitat conditions for in-stream aquatic life. These techniques generally improve stream hydraulics and as a result reduce nutrient and sediment loads being delivered downstream. Coupled with improved habitat for in-stream aquatic life, stream restoration projects generally result in overall ecological uplift to a system.
Because of many benefits of stream restoration, the Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership and the Stateof Maryland allow and encourage local jurisdictions, watershed organizations, and other stakeholders to use stream restoration projects to meet MS4 permit requirements and TMDL goals. MDE follows guidance from the Chesapeake Bay Program on calculating the nutrient and sediment load reductions, qualifying conditions, and verification procedures for stream restoration through Partnership approved Expert Panel reports. As stream restoration has continued to evolve, the Stream Restoration Expert Panel report has evolved as well. New recommendation memos provide updates to the load reduction calculation methodologies, qualifying conditions, etc. outlined in the original expert panel report, which was published in 2013. These memos are based on consensus from the scientific, regulator, non-profit, and practitioner communities. The original stream restoration expert panel report and subsequent, accompanying memos can be found on the Chesapeake Stormwater Network’s website here: https://chesapeakestormwater.net/bmp-resources/urban-stream-restoration/.The recommendations from the following reports were incorporated into MDE’s 2020 MS4 Accounting Guidance, which details how nutrient and sediment load reductions are translated into MS4 permit metrics:
The Department recognizes that these “restorative” projects are fundamentally different from development projects in that their intended result is an overall uplift of ecological function. To that end, the Department instituted several measures to ensure that these projects were reviewed differently than development projects. Specifically: having a dedicated team of permit review staff of 2 engineers and a natural resources planner who only handle restorative projects along with producing guidance documents/checklists for restoration applicants to help ensure a complete application submission. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also recognizes the importance of such projects. The Corps has issued the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load Regional General Permit and activated Nationwide Permit #27 to streamline permitting of qualifying projects in Maryland. The Wetlands and Waterways Program has prepared guidance documents for preparing permit applications of MS4/Chesapeake Bay TMDL/Trust Fund and Restoration Projects. Additionally, the Department recognized that restorative projects, many times, require permit modifications during construction. To assist in the timely review/approval of necessary changes, the Department developed a Tiered Approach to modification approval for restoration projects.
Wetlands and Waterways ProgramWaterway Construction DivisionDivision Chief410-537-3837
For more information about TMDLs or Credits for TMDL Goals, contact:Integrated Water Planning Program at firstname.lastname@example.org
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