Client

Maryland Department of Transportation – State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA)

Key Services

  • Wetland Delineation
  • Forest Stand Delineation
  • Permitting Support
  • Phase 1 Bog Turtle Habitat Assessments
  • Phase 2 Bog Turtle Surveys
  • Biological Stream Assessments

Project Details

CRI is currently providing environmental services as part of an interdisciplinary restoration team for 4 Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) stream restoration projects located in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Carroll County.  The intent of these projects is to develop Impervious Acres Treated (IAT) Credit for the benefit of the MDOT SHA.  These projects will help MDOT SHA meet the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL through compliance with the requirements established in Maryland’s Watershed Implementation Plan for the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (WIP).

The Bacon Ridge Branch at Elks Camp Barrett project is located in Crownsville, Anne Arundel County.  This project proposes to restore approximately 18,000 linear feet (LF) of the mainstem of Bacon Ridge Branch, a main tributary, and multiple side tributaries. The Long Green Creek at Dott Farm project is located in Glen Arm, Baltimore County, and proposes to restore approximately 9,341 LF of multiple unnamed tributaries to Long Green Creek.  The Rolling Ridge at Councilmans Run project is located in Owings Mills, Baltimore County.  This project proposes to restore approximately 3,500 LF of 2 unnamed tributaries to Councilmans Run.  The Gunpowder Falls and Muddy Creek at River Valley Ranch project is located in Manchester, Carroll County, and proposes to restore approximately 8,000 LF of Gunpowder Falls, Muddy Creek, and 3 unnamed tributaries.

CRI completed a wetland delineation at each of the 4 project sites.  CRI prepared a wetland delineation memorandum and conducted a pre-application meeting with the regulatory agencies to confirm the wetland boundaries identified at each site. CRI prepared the Federal/State Joint Permit Application (JPA) for 3 of the projects, including Long Green Creek at Dott Farm, Rolling Ridge at Councilmans Run, Gunpowder Falls and Muddy Creek at River Valley Ranch, and provided review and comment for the permit plates, functional uplift memorandum, and monitoring plan as part of JPA package compilation.  CRI submitted the JPA to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and coordinated resolution of any comments received from the agencies with the design team to obtain permit approval from MDE and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

CRI completed forest stand delineations at each of the 4 project sites.  CRI coordinated with each County on the forest conservation requirements.  A Forest Conservation Exemption submittal was prepared and submitted for the Bacon Ridge Branch, Long Green Creek, and Rolling Ridge restoration projects.  A Forest Buffer Variance application and Forest Buffer Protection Plan was prepared and submitted to Baltimore County for the Long Green Creek and Rolling Ridge projects.  Additionally, the Long Green Creek project required a Forest Conservation Variance due to proposed impacts to an existing Forest Conservation Easement.  CRI coordinated with each county, as necessary for forest conservation approval.

Phase 1 bog turtle habitat assessments were conducted at the projects located in Baltimore and Carroll Counties.   A Phase 1 report was prepared for each project and submitted to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as part of the environmental review.  During the environmental review, DNR recommended that wetlands identified as supporting suitable bog turtle habitat at the Gunpowder Falls and Muddy Creek at River Valley Ranch project site receive a Phase 2 bog turtle survey.  CRI conducted Phase 2 bog turtle presence absence surveys during which bog turtles were captured, representing a newly discovered population in Maryland that totaled at least 24 individual turtles.  A summary report was prepared and submitted to DNR.  Coordination with DNR regarding the potential impacts to bog turtles is ongoing.

CRI assisted with initial concept designs for a number of the restoration sites during the proposal process and provided a stream restoration staff expert to support the functional assessment/geomorphic field work including cross sections at River Valley Ranch/Muddy Creek.  CRI also assisted with the preparation of the baseline functional uplift report.

CRI completed an assessment of pre-restoration biological conditions at the River Valley Ranch/Muddy Creek project.  In-stream aquatic habitat and in-situ water quality data were collected, and benthic macroinvertebrate communities were sampled at 4 locations within the restoration project in accordance with the Maryland Biological Stream Survey (MBSS) protocols (Stranko et al. 2018).  CRI’s MBSS certified lab manager supervised subsampling and identified all benthic macroinvertebrate samples to genus level in accordance with MBSS laboratory protocols. A summary report of biological conditions was prepared.  In accordance with project permits, post construction sampling will occur in the last year of required post-construction monitoring to compare the results to pre-construction conditions.

CRI will conduct pre-construction and during construction monitoring of bog turtles at the River Valley Ranch Longhorn Site, which is a portion of the TMDL Stream Restoration of Gunpowder Falls and Muddy Creek Project. Ten bog turtles will be collected in September 2019, fitted with radio transmitters, and released back into the wetland.  Transmitters will be tracked once a week until the end of construction or the end of the hibernation period (approximately March 1), whichever comes first.  The location of each turtle will be surveyed during each tracking event using a Trimble GPS unit.  All telemetry data will be post-processed to determine the extent of movements and locations of hibernation for each turtle.  A summary report of the bog turtle monitoring study will be prepared and submitted to the DNR and Chesapeake Bay field office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).