Implementation Update

Due to the rural and agricultural nature of the Deer Creek watershed, the highest priority implementation strategies identified in the Deer Creek Watershed Restoration Action Strategy (WRAS) focused on agricultural best management practices (BMPs), land preservation, riparian buffer planting, and public outreach. Other strategies include new or retrofit stormwater BMPs in currently developed areas and stream restoration. Harford County Government and the Harford Soil Conservation District have taken the lead role in the implementation of the WRAS.

Implementation Success Stories
Land Preservation
  • Rural Legacy Area expanded in 2007 to include most of the Deer Creek watershed.
  • Much of the watershed designated the Priority MAP Preservation Area for the county in 2008 (expanded in 2009).
  • Over 3,700 additional acres have been preserved in the watershed in Harford County since the WRAS was completed, for a grand total of 32,351 acres in parks and easements.
Conservation Technical Assistance Grant (2010 - 2013)
A $400,000 grant was received in 2010 from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service to implement the Deer Creek WRAS. The 3 major projects undertaken with this grant were:
  1. Planning and Design of Agricultural BMPS:
    • 9 Riparian Buffer plans prepared on 22.34 acres (5 installed on 13.74 acres)
    • 4 Wetlands designed (≤ 1 acre): 1 under construction
    • 2 Wetlands designed (≥ 1 acre): 1 completed, 1 underway
    • 15 Streambank Stabilization projects designed (1 completed, 6 to be funded by NFWF grant)
    • 8 Equine Conservation Plans developed
    • 28 Equine BMPs designed: 12 completed, 2 underway
  2. Stout Bottle Branch/Cabbage Run Subwatershed Action Plan - January 2012:
    • The Stout Bottle/Cabbage Run subwatershed was identified in the Deer Creek WRAS as the #1 priority subwatershed for restoration. An action plan was developed by KCI Technologies, Inc. to identify restoration opportunities, such as bank stabilizations, buffer planting sites, agricultural BMPs and stormwater management retrofits, and to develop conceptual designs and planning level cost estimates.
  3. Outreach Coordinator: An outreach coordinator was hired to conduct outreach to residents in the watershed. Accomplishments by the Outreach Coordinator include:
    • Send over 1,200 mailings to residents inviting them to workshops and providing information on the benefits of forested streamside buffers
    • Conducted 4 workshops attended by 189 people encouraging property owners to undertake buffer plantings, agricultural BMPs and stream restoration projects
    • Created 3 environmental exhibits for display at various public events
National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Grant
A $197,000 grant was obtained by the Harford Soil Conservation District, in partnership with Trout Unlimited, to undertake the construction of projects identified in the WRAS. This grant ended June 2013. These projects accomplished:
  • Over 1,800 linear feet of streambank stabilization was constructed on 6 different properties in the watershed
  • Constructed 3 wetlands of less than 1 acre each
  • Constructed 1 wetland of greater than 1 acre
Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund Grant (2014 - 2015)
  • $2.6 million awarded to Harford Soil Conservation District (SCD)
  • Designated for SCD projects for watershed improvements in Chesapeake Bay watershed
  • Design (WRAS) and permits in-hand or soon to be in-hand
  • Design dollars leveraged for this project (even though no match required)
  • Projects:
    • Island Branch Sub-Watershed - 635 linear feet of streambank stabilization and 0.53 acre of riparian buffer
    • Lower Deer Creek (Hopkins/Holland/Graveyard Branch) - 378 linear feet of streambank stabilization and 1 acre of riparian buffer
    • Middle Deer Creek - Streambank stabilization (533 linear feet) and wetland restoration
    • Upper Deer Creek (Plumtree Subwatershed) - Restore and stabilize approximately 400 linear feet of unnamed tributary to Deer Creek
    • Kellogg Branch - 228 linear feet of streambank stabilization
    • Little Deer Creek (Lower) - Streambank stabilization project to be completed in Spring 2015
    • Stout Bottle Branch - Restore and stabilize approximately 360 linear feet of an unnamed tributary to Stout Bottle Branch
    • Cabbage Run - Restore and stabilize approximately 1,340 linear feet of Cabbage Run and an unnamed tributary to Cabbage Run and create one acre of forested wetland
    • St. Omer Branch - Restore and stabilize approximately 1,500 linear feet of Saint Omer Branch, a tributary to Deer Creek (includes riparian tree plantings)
Stream Challenge Grant (2012 - 2015)
  • The Harford County Department of Planning and Zoning was awarded a grant of over $300,000 from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to plant riparian forest buffers in the county.
  • Close to 9 acres of riparian buffer were planted in the Deer Creek Watershed.
Stream Signage
Approximately 20 locations throughout the Deer Creek watershed where roads crossed streams were posted with 18x24” signs naming the streams.

Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPS)
The Harford Soil Conservation District continues to work with property owners in the Deer Creek watershed to implement best management practices on farms. Nutrient Management, cover crops, fencing of streams, riparian buffer plantings, and prescribed grazing are just a few of the many BMPS that are being encouraged and installed in the watershed.