New Guidance for Stream Restoration in Stream/Wetland Complexes

The Wetlands and Waterways Protection Program, Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), is pleased to release “Guidance for Stream Restoration Based on Key Wildlife Habitats: Upper Coastal Plain Stream-associated Wetlands”. This guidance has been under development for several years with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and was funded by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency State Wetland Program Development Grant.

This project and resulting guidance arose from a need to better recognize the condition and resources of wetlands in the riparian area adjacent to streams proposed for restoration, particularly for Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) credit. Debate and delays over review and approval for some stream restoration projects has occurred over resource tradeoffs which may occur due to direct construction disturbance and/or increased inundation in the floodplain.

DNR in coordination with MDE has developed a rapid assessment focusing on characteristics of wildlife habitats. The assessment uses common information collected during wetland delineations.

This guidance is based on real examples and practices used to minimize tree loss and adverse wetland impacts. Guidance covers all phases of project design and construction.

This project focuses on sites in the western shore Coastal Plain. MDE invites practitioners and other experts to submit feedback on this guidance as well as additional recommended practices for reducing tree and forest loss and adverse nontidal wetland impacts for inclusion in future guidance and revisions.

A webinar was held December 16, 2021, and comments were solicited on the draft guidance. A summary of comments received on the draft guidance and MDE’s responses is provided under “Documents”.

A recording of the December 16, 2021 webinar is available: Training Webinar Recording for Restoration Guidance for Stream/Wetland Complexes (December 16, 2021)

Next Steps:

The guidance and assessment will be evaluated for updates and applicability for use in the Eastern Shore, excluding blackwater streams. An update is expected to be completed by early 2024 for blackwater streams.

For additional information, please contact Ms. Denise Clearwater at




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