Sleepy Creek Stream Bank Restoration Project
Sleepy Creek flows through part of Northern Virginia and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and drains directly into the Potomac River/Chesapeake Bay. The targeted Sleepy Creek Project area in Morgan County, West Virginia consists of 600+ feet of eroding streambank. The landowner requested assistance from the Sleepy Creek Watershed Association (SWCA) to stabilize and restore the west streambank in order to alleviate soil loss in the farmed bottomlands adjacent to the creek. Water quality concerns include significant sedimentation and nutrient introduction caused by stormwater erosion.
The installation of the streambank and in-stream structural components (rock revetments, soil lifts, j-hooks, etc.) will help restore and protect the water quality of Sleepy Creek by deflecting and decreasing the velocity of flow, especially during periods of high water, and reducing the amount of erosion and sedimentation. The establishment of a riparian forest buffer adjacent to the project area will facilitate the natural infiltration of precipitation and surface runoff from agricultural fields and roads upslope of Sleepy Creek, helping to improve groundwater quality and conserve flow.
In the fall of 2016, the SWCA, Eastern Panhandle Conservation District, and Partnership for Ecological Services (Stevensville, MD) received a fully funded Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Technical Capacity Grant in the amount of $47,500 to complete an assessment, survey, and design of the Sleepy Creek project area. Implementation Permits were approved by the Army Corp of Engineers and appropriate WV state agencies in the fall of 2017. The project is designed to redirect water flow and stabilize streambanks, while tree and shrub plantings help stabilize adjoining soil and improve fish and wildlife habitat. As a result of the proposed implementation, we anticipate substantial water quality benefits for Sleepy Creek and the Chesapeake Bay to include sediment load reduction of 81.5 tons/year (a 50% reduction), phosphorus load reduction of 85.5 lbs./year, and nitrogen load reduction of 186 lbs./year.
Sleepy Creek Project implementation is contingent on securing adequate funding from multiple sources. The SWCA, along with its partners, will apply for a 2019 Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Implementation Grant, but must also secure additional non-federal funds to complete construction. The partners hope to showcase this project to other non-profit groups, West Virginia government agencies, and corporations and other environmentally concerned groups collaborating on similar initiatives within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. It is envisioned that the completed project (the first of this magnitude in Morgan County) will lead to similar streambank projects throughout the 93,000 acre Sleepy Creek Watershed and educational opportunities for students and other Chesapeake Bay communities.
* Project utilizes best management practices to filter and/or reduce pollution inputs into rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands or near-shore marine areas