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Montgomery County’s Breewood Watershed Restoration Event on Saturday, June 8, Will Celebrate County’s First Project of This Scope to Help Save the Chesapeake Bay

For Immediate Release: Friday, May 31, 2019

breedwood watershed restoration

Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Saturday, June 8, will hold a celebration in the Breewood community of Silver Spring to mark completion of the first watershed restoration project of its scope in the County. County officials will join community members in recognizing the many efforts to restore the area and reduce the amount of polluted water that would otherwise run into the Anacostia River and Chesapeake Bay.

The celebration will take place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Northwood Presbyterian Church at 1200 University Blvd. West in Silver Spring, with ceremonies starting at 10:30 a.m. In addition to learning about the restoration project, residents will be able to follow a 1.3-mile walking tour that highlights the main elements of the effort, receive one free native plant (while supplies last) and be eligible to win a rain barrel.    

The Breewood Tributary drains 63 acres of highly developed urban area in the southeastern portion of the County. It flows into Sligo Creek, which is a tributary of the Anacostia River. The defined watershed area encompasses land on both sides of University Boulevard and includes the Presbyterian Church, Northwood High School, the University Towers condominium/apartment complex and neighborhoods of single-family homes.

In 2009, Montgomery County DEP selected the Breewood Tributary for watershed restoration as part of the County’s program to meet State requirements to improve local water quality. A comprehensive biological and water quality study showed that development dating to the 1950’s had degraded the tributary. The development did not include stormwater management practices commonly used today. Years of uncontrolled storm flows caused significant erosion of the stream and dumped pollution from streets, buildings and sidewalks into the stream. This created poor water quality and habitat conditions for aquatic wildlife.

Montgomery County DEP, in partnership with the community, conducted a multi-faceted restoration initiative starting in 2010 to reverse the damage. The combination of stormwater projects made the Breewood Restoration a project unlike any other in the County.

“The Breewood Watershed Restoration Project demonstrates that great things can be accomplished to restore our local streams when local watershed organizations, private property owners and state and local government agencies work together towards a common goal,” said DEP Director Adam Ortiz. “I especially want to thank the Friends of Sligo Creek, the University Tower Condominium Association, Northwood Presbyterian Church, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the private property owners who installed RainScapes projects on their properties and my dedicated staff for making this all possible.” 

The Breewood Tributary receives the most of its flow from four storm drains that convey stormwater runoff from University Boulevard, Breewood Road, Tenbrook Drive and the surrounding areas. Much of the runoff had no stormwater management, except for the outfall that drains from Northwood High School.

The following techniques were implemented to restore the Breewood Watershed:

- Breewood Manor Neighborhood Green Streets: Completed in October 2014, vegetated projects were installed within the public right of way along roads to improve and to reduce stormwater runoff.
- Breewood Stream Restoration: Completed in May 2015, the stream channel was reconstructed to reduce erosion and improve habitat for aquatic life.
- Breewood Bioretention: Completed in May 2017, the large bioretention facility located at the end of Breewood Road temporarily traps stormwater to slow it down and remove pollutants.
- University Towers and Northwood Presbyterian Church: Completed in June 2018, 13 small scale stormwater management facilities were installed to capture and treat stormwater runoff from the parking lots.
- RainScapes: Worked with property owners in the Breewood Manor neighborhood to install small structures to control stormwater runoff from individual properties and promote groundwater recharge. RainScapes Projects have been installed on three residential properties to date.

DEP programs continue to enhance the health of the Breewood watershed and other watersheds throughout the County. Ongoing monitoring programs track how conditions change in streams as projects are implemented.

For more information on the Breewood Watershed and other watershed restoration projects DEP is addressing, go to the DEP website at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/water/.


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Release ID: 19-180
Media Contact: Neil H. Greenberger 240-777-6532