Wetlands Project at Homestead Gardens Dedicated Tuesday
At Homestead Gardens on Tuesday morning, dignitaries came to celebrate a $100,000 wetlands project that will help slow runoff and prevent harmful nutrients from disrupting the natural balance in Beards Creek, a tributary of the South River.
The lead on the project, Kirk Mantay of the South River Federation (SRF), said that the project took about a year from start to finish. He said that he started with about $15,000 in funding from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and SRF. From there, Kirk set out to find about $85,000 in construction grants.
More after the photos.
“Construction grants are a little easier to come by because there is something tangible at the end,” Mantay said.
Once funding was secured, Mantay worked closely with Keith Underwood who designed and built the wetlands.
Mantay said that Homestead Gardens provided in-kind labor, heavy equipment, plants at cost, wood chips and more.
“It is important for the landowner to have ‘skin’ in the game,” Mantay said. “Property owners should be fully invested in the success of the project.”
Besides the eco-friendly aspect, the other benefit for Homestead is that the garden and landscape center now has a representation of what a wetlands looks like, with slopes, culverts, and rocks to slow water flow as well as a good drain field. If a homeowner is having problems with erosion or runoff, they can come to the Homestead site and see how it is done.
The problem at the site was that the area had once been used as a cattle grazing area. It had been graded, but the slopes made all the water rush down the slope and into a forest on the southwest corner of the property. From there, the water would go into a tributary to Beards Creek. The neighbor to the south would also get some of the runoff. The trees in a small forest at the bottom of the slope would get waterlogged.
“The stormwater runoff ate the treeline and it ended up as a hole in the woods,” Mantay said.
The wetlands that was constructed slows all that water down. It will keep the nutrients out of the creek because the water will be better filtered. It can help to prevent things like the algae mat that was found in Beards Creek [video link] in 2011.
Among the dignitaries at the event were State Sen. John Astle and County Executive John Leopold.
Here is a rendering of the project: