Pilot Project Underway to Block Highway Runoff from Elk River Stream

This month, the state of Maryland launched a new stream restoration project along Gramies Run, a tributary of the Elk River in Cecil County.

The pilot project is designed to restore streams and wetlands on private property, and if it works, could be a restoration technique for future Chesapeake Bay projects.

The Maryland Environmental Trust, which includes the State Highway Administration, will focus on highway runoff pollution for the first-of-its-kind, $4.3 million project.

“Water runoff from highway surfaces can leave pollutants in streams and the Bay, and we are partnering with the Department of Natural Resources to come up with innovative solutions to support Bay restoration,” said State Highway Administrator Greg Slater.

Property owner Edward F. Kelley is allowing crews to stabilize the banks and plant trees on a five-acre stretch along Gramies Run. The project aims to improve water quality by reducing erosion, filtering stormwater, slowing down the flow of water, and cooling the water temperature by building up a bigger tree canopy.

That, in turn, should help reduce nitrogen and phosphorous from entering the Elk River, and ultimately, the Bay. Work is expected to be completed in early 2019.