A 2017 grant application to Chesapeake & Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund has been submitted by Spa Creek Conservancy for the Hawkins Cove restoration project.
Hawkins Cove, located near the Truxtun Park boat ramp with headlands at the public housing communities of Harbour House & Eastport Terrace, is a highly developed watershed primarily composed of residential and institutional development with little to no stormwater management.
The result of this uncontrolled stormwater discharge into a stream valley is a degraded stream channel with active streambank erosion, stream bed sedimentation, exposed sewer crossings at two locations, a silted-in tidal cove, impaired benthic and riparian habitat, and poor water quality.
Hawkins Cove drains a highly urban small-watershed of approximately 93 acres. The stream channel ravine is substantially impacted by litter, impervious surface pollution, and contributes heavy loads of sediment to the receiving waters, and is unsuitable habitat for most fish species and subaquatic grass varieties. The floodplain is heavily impacted by invasive flora. It also contains dysfunctional wetlands and old flood plains, and the impacts of upland development have caused a significant decrease in the wetland quality.
The focus of the restoration effort is to establish a long-term, stable channel throughout the project area resulting in an increase in nutrient uptake and the associated improvements in water quality. In creating a stable stream channel, the restoration design will also capitalize on opportunities to reestablish a viable living shoreline for aquatic and riparian habitat enhancement.
In the context of restoring functional attributes associated with riparian and stream corridors, the objectives for the restoration more specifically include:
• Improve water quality through infiltration/retention/detention upstream in the watershed, reconnecting the adjacent floodplain during storm flows, slowing the storm flow velocities, widening the flow path and reducing flow depth, to limit bank erosion, trap sediment and improve water quality, and recreating a tidal marsh at the cove to further filter discharges to tidal water.
• Recharge groundwater by retaining stormwater runoff in seepage pools as high (upstream) in the watershed as possible to facilitate infiltration
• Create and/or restore non-tidal wetlands by raising the local groundwater table and storing stormwater runoff in surface features in the floodplain.
• Create and/or restore tidal shoreline and marsh, dredge spoils sediment and restore SAV and oyster bar.
• Improve existing habitat through dramatic improvements in site diversity associated with increased pools and riffles.
• Suppress invasive plant species (which currently dominate much of the project area) through development of a hydrologic regime outside of their normal tolerance range.
• Increase stewardship and education opportunities for residents through restoration design that inspires people to walk through these woods and enjoy this public resource with their children, neighbors, friends and visitors.