Posts Tagged 'potomac river'

Potomac River Restoration at Indian Head Continues!

Since 2008 the National Aquarium has worked with the US Navy to restore portions of the Potomac River surrounding Naval Support Facility Indian Head and Stump Neck Annex. This newly created riparian buffer protects the shoreline from severe erosion while providing habitat to the local wildlife.

In June, 2013 the conservation team along with the Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC) returned to plant native wetland grasses best suited for the restoration area.

indian head conservation team

In total the operation included 15 Aquarium staff and 20 MCC to plant 20,000 grasses. The 1,806 trees planted in the fall of 2012 by community volunteers were also monitored and yield a survival rate of 95 percent!

Riparian buffers are essential to healthy ecosystems by preventing sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus and other pollutants reaching the waterway. They also provide valuable habitat for migratory songbirds and raptors. During the restoration several American bald eagles and osprey were observed occupying the area.

indian head restoration

The Aquarium has plans to complete the planting portion of the restoration by the end of 2013. At this time the success of the shoreline will be monitored annually with staff and volunteers.

Want to get involved with our conservation initiatives? Join us at our next field event


Thoughtful Thursdays: Indian Head Restoration is Complete!

Since 2008, National Aquarium has actively worked to restore a riparian buffer (a bank of water that naturally filters out pollution and prevents erosion) along a section of the Potomac River at Naval Support Facility Indian Head and Stump Neck Annex.  This four-year project, which involved 81,268 grasses and 5,902 trees, was a partnership between the National Aquarium, Department of Defense, and Southern Maryland Resource Conservation and Development.

This past November marked the Aquarium’s last volunteer planting event, where we were able to finish the third phase of this cleanup and restoration project.

One of our amazing community volunteers hard at work planting saplings!

One of our amazing community volunteers
hard at work planting saplings!

The project began when the Navy experienced severe erosion along their shoreline, weakening base infrastructure and threatening operations.  The Navy proposed a plan and provided funding to reconstruct the shoreline in areas most vulnerable to base activity.  The Aquarium was brought on board to lead community-based, hands-on restoration events to vegetate the shoreline.

Volunteers from the NCCC braved the brisk weather to help us finish our final planting.

Volunteers from the NCCC braved the brisk weather to help us finish our final planting.

The 15 acres of shoreline were restored with the help of 622 volunteers donating 4,938 hours to the project since 2008!  Volunteers included the local community, the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!), Maryland Conservation Corps, National Civilian Community Corps, Charles Master Gardeners, and Navy personnel.

A glimpse at the freshly restored shoreline at Indian Head

A glimpse at the freshly restored shoreline at Indian Head.

Riparian buffers are environmentally critical to providing habitat for local wildlife and improving water quality.  The buffer intercepts sediment and nutrients that can lead to what’s known as “dead zones.”  The Aquarium has plans to return to NSF Indian Head and Stump Neck Annex to further monitor the success of the project.  For more information on this project, please visit

Thoughtful Thursday: More than 4,000 ft of restored shoreline at Indian Head

The Aquarium Conservation Team spent most of June at Naval Support Facility Indian Head and Stump Neck Annex (Indian Head, MD). Over a period of 11 days, volunteers planted 45,897 native wetland grasses along the Potomac River, restoring more than 4,000 feet of shoreline!

Spring and early summer are ideal times for planting wetland grasses in the mid-Atlantic region, so Aquarium staff and partners worked through record-high temperatures to complete the job! Volunteers from the Maryland Conservation Corps, Mattawoman Watershed Society, Appalachian Mountain Club, Naval Support Activity South Potomac, and the community hand-planted nine different species of grass.

Our volunteers aren’t afraid to get dirty

The National Aquarium has partnered with NSF Indian Head since 2008, restoring sections of shoreline each year. During this spring’s event, Aquarium staff monitored older wetland areas, and found them in full bloom and thriving.

After the planting is complete; look at all those grasses!

Want to join us? The Aquarium Conservation Team will return in the fall of 2012 to complete Phase Two of the shoreline restoration by planting the upland portion with trees and shrubs. We need your help! Dates for the fall planting will be announced in August. Be sure to check here for registration details.

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