Volunteers Provide Finishing Touch to Little Catoctin Creek Restoration
Volunteers listen to instruction on planting day. USFWS photo.
There used to be fish in Little Catoctin Creek, and a project may once again make the creek a friendlier place for them. The creek still gets stocked, but erosion and lack of vegetation along the banks in Doub's Meadow Park in Myersville, MD made the creek an unfriendly home for trout and other game fish.
The town of Myersville and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Chesapeake Bay Field Office teamed up to restore the creek including improving stream flow, reducing erosion and improving habitat along 625 feet of streambank.
The park was once farmland, so the stream has had little buffer through that stretch for many years. Erosion has moved too much sediment into the creek. Slowing the water and filling in the creek. Trout need fast-moving water and shade, not sand, silt and gravel.
This sediment also makes its way into Catoctin Creek, and then into the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. Little Catoctin Creek joins with Middle Creek downstream from the park to form Catoctin Creek.
Restoration began with recreating a natural stream bed. This included rolling out biodegradable matting to hold the soil in place. Large rocks and logs were placed in the creek bed to create rock and log vanes that mimic the effects of natural vegetation in a stream. That gives trout the pools and riffles in which to feed and rest.
Planting trees along Little Catoctin Creek. USFWS photo
Over 100 volunteers for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation then came in and planted more than 600 trees and 1000 seedlings alongside the stream. Dogwoods, maples and sycamores are among the trees planted along with native shrubs. Roots from the vegetation will help hold the bank in place and provide a habitat for local wildlife.
The restoration of Little Catoctin Creek will also be used as a demonstration project, so that other agencies and stream practitioners can examine it. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center, in nearby Shepherdstown, W.Va., hosts restoration professionals from all over the country. The Little Catoctin Creek restoration will be used as one of their showcase projects
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