A Case Study in Changing Management Practices

A Case Study in Changing Management Practices The Marshy Hope Creek Riparian and Wetland Restoration Project is a case study of the historical changes in restoration practices, and waterway and wetland management in Maryland. In the last few decades, state agencies and natural resource managers have increasingly applied the practice of "RESTORATION" to the management, preservation and conservation of Maryland resources. These resources include watersheds - particularly the Chesapeake Bay watershed - rivers, streams, wetlands, water supplies, endangered and rare species, and the list goes on.

The term "restoration" is widely used to define the return of a natural resource or an ecological environment to a natural state, meaning a condition that existed prior to impact or disturbance. In the case of Marshy Hope Creek, "restoration" has resulted in a waterway, floodplain and wetland system that has regained much of its previous ecologic and environmental functions and, in some ways, has improvement of overall function.

Through the late 1960's, areas of Federalsburg, Maryland, near Marshy Hope Creek, were regularly inundated by large flood events. These floods damaged private and commercial properties and lands, and posed a serious environmental hazard to the residents of the town.

In the late 1960's, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reconstructed the waterway and floodplain to most efficiently attain the goal of flood management and flood protection. At that time, the destruction of natural resources - wetlands, riparian areas and the natural channel form of Marshy Hope Creek - was considered less important than attaining the goal of reducing the impacts caused by flood events to the town of Federalsburg, Maryland.

Today, the resource values and societal benefits provided by riparian areas, wetlands, floodplains and waterways are recognized as essential, and necessary, components of our environment and well-worth efforts to preserve and conserve them. In the late 1990's, Marshy Hope Creek was revisited by State natural resource managers and selected as a restoration site, including large-scale reconstruction and development of educational and ecological features. Although the section of channel within the restoration project has not been restored to the original meandering planform, the floodplain, wetlands and riparian areas of the waterway have been reconstructed or dramatically improved.​