Mayor Gray, Councilmember Mary Cheh, and Forest Hill Community Celebrate Stream Restoration Projects Completion
On Saturday, October 18, 2014, Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Ward 3 Council Member Mary Cheh joined the President of the Forest Hills Citizen Association Denise Warner, ANC Commissioner Mary Beth Ray, Rock Creek Park Superintendent Ms. Tara Morrison, Forest Hills Connection editor Ms. Marlene Berlin at the Intersection of Fessenden Street, NW & Broad Branch Terrace, NW to celebrate the completion of two stream restoration projects in the Forest Hill Community. More than 50 residents and supporters attended the celebration, which included tree planting, stream monitoring demonstrations, and tours of the restored streams.
The two stream restoration projects - Broad Branch and Linnean Park –utilized innovative approaches that have been rarely used in the United States and worldwide.
The restoration of the Linnean Park stream, a 900 linear foot restoration project, used an innovative stream restoration technique called a “Regenerative Stream Channel.” This approach transforms eroded and biologically degraded gullies into a series of step-pools that infiltrate stormwater and provide important aquatic habitat.
The Broad Branch stream daylighting project brought a buried waterway back to life by physically uncovering and restoring it to the surface. This is the first time in the District that a previously piped stream has been daylighted and the first project of this size to be completed in the Chesapeake Bay region. Additionally, only a couple dozen of stream daylighting have been completed in the world, and no more than a handful in the US.
Both of the projects will meet several District goals laid out in the city’s Sustainable DC Plan. Among them are increasing wetland area, restoring streams and rivers, and treating stormwater runoff from roads and alleys. Specifically, the projects will treat about 15 acres of impervious surface from adjacent streets, alleys and rooftops by directing it into bioretention cells and sand seepage wetlands; create 24,000 square feet of new wetlands as well as new habitat for fish and wildlife; and include hundreds of newly planted trees that will lead to one and a half acres of new tree canopy for the District to shade the stream. Additionally, the projects will provide students hands-on outdoor environmental experiences, a key goal of the District’ Environmental Literacy Plan.
In his remarks, Mayor Vincent Gray said that the two stream restoration projects not only demonstrate the District’s commitment to urban environmental restoration, but are also great testimonials of how the resources we put into protecting and restoring the city’s natural assets can yield multiple benefits that work together to make the District a greener, healthier, and more livable place for us all. Watch video coverage of the event.