Starting in 2004, SVTU has been actively involved in helping with the Beaver Creek restoration project. During this time our chapter has purchased trees, provided funds and volunteered hours of labor to help with the restoration efforts.
Beaver Creek is one of the largest limestone streams in Maryland. Originating as a freestone stream on the west slope of South Mountain, the majority of the flow during the summer months is influenced by the numerous springs in the Hagerstown Valley. The largest spring (~11,356 l/min) influencing Beaver Creek is used as the water supply for the Albert Powell Trout Hatchery. Upstream of the spring’s influence, Beaver Creek is considered a warm-water stream and flows underground much of the year due to local Karst geology.
In January 2004, approximately one mile of Beaver Creek—formerly under the control of the Antietam Fly Anglers—was established as a catch-and-return fly-fishing-only area open to the public. This area extends from the mouth of Black Rock Creek (downstream) to the upper boundary of the Perini property, approximately 161m above Beaver Creek Road. The special regulation area is entirely on private property. This area is now managed for wild trout due to favorable year-round water temperatures and some natural reproduction of brown trout.
SVTU Contributes to Beaver Creek Projects
Beaver Creek Work Day
On October 21, 2017, Seneca Valley TU & Antietam Fly Anglers planted screening plants for the future parking lot on Beaver Creek in the new Charles Jackson Fish Management Area. The volunteers made sure tree protection was in place, and did general maintenance (cleaning up invasive plants) in past planting areas. Even though the weather was very warm for October, everyone had a fun day!
Tired and hot volunteers
Project Maintenance November 26, 2016
It is not enough to plant riparian buffer areas and then walk away, they take maintenance too. On Saturday, November 26, 2016, SVTU volunteers gathered along Beaver Creek to spend the morning on maintaining the plantings in the stream restoration areas that SVTU helped install. The five volunteers hacked at invasives, pruned branches, removed tree guards, installed tree guards, widened trails, and generally cleaned up the area. We found little actual trash thanks to the conservation ethos of fly fisherman, but there was a lot of vegetative “trash” to clear. It was a good time on a beautiful day and only one volunteer found the nearby electric fence.
Little Beaver Creek Planting Nov 7, 2015
On Saturday, November 7, 2015, eleven SVTU members and friends planted a project area along Little Beaver Creek in Washington County. This was a project will improve water quality on Little Beaver Creek, Beaver Creek, Antietam Creek, and ultimately the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. SVTU was one of the sponsors of this stream bank restoration project and the planting was the final step in this project. We planted about 100 trees and shrubs to anchor the bank after the construction of a root wad stabilized bend to address a bank erosion issue. Thanks to the members and friends of SVTU that came out and did their part for water quality.
Little Beaver Creek before construction begins
Root wads have been set
Construction has is finished, time for seeding
Seeded and grass is up
Volunteers start planting trees and shrubs
On November 8, 2014, 14 volunteers spent about five hours each on a beautiful day doing maintenance activities in the Beaver Creek project areas. Eight of the volunteers were from SVTU—the largest group represented. We installed beaver guards on trees, did a lot of tree-trimming and pruning and removed invasive vegetation. We broke for lunch with hot chili and beans. It was a good day to be out! One of the tasks was cleaning up storm damage from the summer, including chipping a fallen tree to allow stream access.
In October 2010, 40 members and friends of Seneca Valley TU came together with about 600 potted trees and shrubs in a newly restored area of Beaver Creek in Washington County. At the end of the day, the vast majority of the trees and shrubs were planted into predetermined locations along the streambanks. The October planting (and the follow-up work) culminated almost a year of activity on the part of SVTU to secure adequate funding, and to plan and implement the planting. Working with many partners, including the Beaver Creek Watershed Association, SVTU completed the last element of a restoration project by assuming responsibility for the re-vegetation after others completed the instream work.
The almost 1.5 acres of riparian area replanted in this effort was the final stage in an over $100,000 restoration of about 850 feet in the fly-fishing only portion of Beaver Creek. The project implemented a Natural Channel Steam Design to correct the width and depth of the stream. A series of riffle, run, pool, and glide configurations were constructed to enhance the stability of the stream and to provide fish habitat. This was accomplished by installing rock/log crossvanes and J-hooks, boulder clusters, and scour logs. These changes will provide increased sediment transport, lower water temperatures, and provide an area for higher flows to over-top and relieve some of the channel velocity.
Banks and low-flow benches were stabilized with coirmatting, and annual rye and native grasses. The SVTU-led effort to plant the 600 native trees and shrubs contributed to the bank stabilization and addition of a riparian buffer. The revegetation phase of the 2010 stream improvement projects is the latest in a series of Beaver Creek improvements that began in 2003. SVTU has been involved in efforts on three stream segments prior to the 2010 effort. Prior efforts have included providing funding, volunteer labor, project support, and maintenance of planted areas.
Seneca Valley TU (SVTU) purchased large trees and organized the planting of purchased and donated trees and shrubs along the Catch-and-Release area of Beaver Creek in Washington County. The plantings, conducted on November 13, 2004 and April 9, 2005, were the major effort associated with a National TU Embrace-a-Stream Grant received by SVTU for this project.
On November 13, 2004, over 40 volunteers planted trees along Beaver Creek in the area disturbed by the restoration project in the catch-and-release waters. We started the day with 100 purchased and donated trees and shrubs and managed to get most of them planted before lunch, despite the wet conditions and the on-going construction. The 40 purchased trees are all native to the area and include Red Maple, River Birch, Green Ash, Black Gum, Swamp White Oak, Serviceberry, and Redbuds. The trees were purchased by Seneca Valley TU with funds provided by a National TU Embrace-A-Stream Grant, Chapter resources, and the Mid-Atlantic Council of TU.
The beaver Creek Watershed Association furnished a great hot lunch on the stream. The construction company finally completed the stream work and released the water back into the main channel on November 22, 2004. Eleven volunteers returned on the day after Thanksgiving November 26, to plant in the areas vacated by the in-stream construction. We planted all the remaining trees, except two that will be planted after the construction crew cleans up and vacates the site.
Seneca Valley’s contribution is a part of a $200,000 stream restoration effort headed by the Beaver Creek Watershed Association and the Washington County Soil Conservation District. We are planting larger trees in the distributed area to restore the site as quickly as possible. We can look forward to another planting in the spring because construction delays will prevent us from covering all the area this year. If you have not seen the project, it is very impressive and has significantly improved the trout habitat in the upper section of the Beaver Creek catch-and-release area. The project will perform as designed after a couple of high flow events to flush the sediment out of the gravel and start the movement of the bed load. Also, a high flow will allow the water that is currently backed up in the channel by a new sandbar to readjust to create the pool-to-riffle effect.
My personal thanks to everyone who came out to help with the planting and support Seneca Valley’s role in this restoration effort. In addition to Seneca Valley TU members, planters came from the National Capital, Potomac-Patuxent, and Northern Virginia Chapters of TU, Antietam Fly Anglers, and the Beaver Creek Watershed Association. Thanks to all!
On a beautiful spring morning in early April, about ten Chapter members and two Beaver Creek residents (Anna Hutzell and one of her neighbors) planted a dozen trees and about 40-50 bushes along the creek. Most of the planting was in the area just southeast of the bridge, where the contractor's heavy equipment prevented us from planting last fall.
The trees were purchased by the Chapter, as part of our commitment to improving the watershed, and were the last of more than 50 that the Chapter has planted since the contractor completed work on the streambed.
Digging the holes for the trees and bushes was made easier by the heavy rains earlier in the week; however, the numerous rocks in the soil hindered progress in many cases. In addition to the planting effort, several volunteers assisted with freeing a fairly large water snake from the netting placed along the creek edge to hold the soil while the grass grew back. Once freed, the snake slithered into the creek and swam off downstream, without even offering any thanks to his rescuers.