Bay Trust Awards Grants to Study Stream Restoration Effectiveness

A June 11, 2015, Baltimore Sun article announced the award of four grants totaling $825,000 by the Chesapeake Bay Trust to researchers to study the actual effectiveness of stream restoration projects in improving water quality and habitat.  Although costly, many Maryland counties have undertaken stream restoration projects to help meet their nutrient reduction targets under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load.  From the article:

The studies, commissioned at the behest of state and federal environmental agencies, come as some scientists continue to question the value of such projects at reducing the nutrient and sediment pollution fouling the bay and local waters. Nearly 3,700 miles of streams across Maryland are targeted for restoration work by 2025, at a cost to local and state governments of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Critics contend stream restoration doesn’t always work and often doesn’t last, especially if it’s not matched by comparable efforts to curb polluted storm-water runoff. Officials, as well as private environmental consultants, say techniques for reshaping water ways have improved over the years and do demonstrably revive degraded streams. But even restoration advocates acknowledge that not enough has been done to document the benefits.

The article listed the grant recipients as: (1) the Smithsonian Institution; (2) the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; (3) Virginia Polytechnic Institute; and (4) Straughan Environmental, Inc.