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Upper Watts Branch Forest Preserve

The History

The Watts Branch watershed is an approximately 22-square-mile tributary to the Potomac River.  The confluence of the Potomac River and Watts Branch is of particular importance because it is just upstream of a major Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) drinking water intake for suburban Maryland.  The water quality of Watts Branch can have a significant impact on the level of treatment required at the drinking water plant.

Approximately 6.5 square miles of the Watts Branch watershed are located within the City of Rockville, including the vast majority of first and second order streams in the watershed. In general, the main stem of Watts Branch flows from north to south in the western portion of the City.

In 2001, the City completed the Watts Branch Watershed Study and Management Plan to establish a watershed protection plan that mitigates many of the impacts and stresses that exist on the ecosystem.

The project was recommended in the Watts Branch Watershed Study and Management Plan as a crucial component to the long-term health of the watershed. It was also recommended by the Watts Branch Partnership and approved by the Mayor and Council.

The Project

The purpose of the Upper Watts Branch Park Forest Preserve Environment Restoration Project is to enhance the Watts Branch Watershed through stream restoration, stormwater management, wetland enhancement, reforestation and protection of adjacent utilities.

Watts Branch is experiencing increased erosion, which is degrading the water quality of the stream and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.  This erosion undermines trees along stream banks and causes them to fall. Stream erosion is a main contributor to poor water quality because excessive sediment along with nutrients enters the water. This project will slow the stream erosion and improve the health of Watts Branch.

The project will take place within the Upper Watts Branch Forest Preserve Park and on City-owned parcels bounded between Gude Drive, Aster Boulevard, Nelson Street and Princeton Place. This park is one of many forest preserves throughout the city. View the project limits.

The goals of the stream restoration project are:

  • Minimize/control channel erosion (i.e., channel enlargement and down cutting)
  • Reduce pollutant loadings from the eroding stream banks
  • Enhance stream and forest habitats
  • Protect existing utilities in and near streams from erosion damage
  • Protect existing forest areas
  • Protect and enhance existing wetlands
  • Protect and maintain existing trail systems
  • Control invasive vegetation and establish native plants
  • Reforestation to meet forestry requirements and establish additional riparian buffer

The project was recommended in the Watts Branch Watershed Study and Management Plan as a crucial component to the long-term health of the watershed. It was also recommended by the Watts Branch Partnership and approved by the Mayor and Council.

Project Design Scope and Addendums


Study and Design

The study and design of the Upper Watts Branch Forest Preserve stream was awarded by the Mayor and Council at their August 15, 2011 meeting and the project started in October 2011.

The consultant services include topographic survey, geomorphic survey, archaeological survey, public meetings and presentations, natural resource inventory, forest stand delineation, forest conservation plan (including invasive species control), four design phases (30 percent, 60 percent, 90 percent and final) and construction bid phase services.
The City committed to designing and constructing repairs along three storm drain outfall channels located near Princeton Place, Aster Boulevard and Azalea Drive. The main stream channels were studied in order to make repair recommendations.

This project also considered new stormwater management (SWM) opportunities and evaluated the functioning and potential modifications of existing SWM facilities, which affect the Watts Branch Stream as it passes through the forest preserve, and stream restoration to address erosion in storm outflows and the Watts Branch stream. 

Charles P. Johnson and Associates (CPJ), the Environmental Restoration Design Services consultant, started the week of October 3, 2011 collecting data and measurements on the stream, trees, utilities and topography to establish stream cross sections. CPJ placed a total of 10 marking pins (rebar set into the ground) to collect, measure and monitor cross sections of the stream.

Project Schedule
 Mayor and Council Award design – August 2011 (Complete)
 Initiate study – October 2011 (Complete)
 Repair locations identified (Complete)
                   Storm Drain Outfall Channels – September 2012
                   Stream Channels – February 2014
 Complete conceptual design (Complete)

                   Storm Drain Outfall Channels – April 2013
                   Stream Channels – August 2014
 Complete preliminary design (Complete)
                   Storm Drain Outfall Channels – February 2014
                   Stream Channels – November 2014
 Complete final design (Complete)
                   Storm Drain Outfall Channels – August 2014
                   Stream Channels – March 2015
 Mayor and Council Award construction – Late summer 2016
 Begin construction – Fall 2016 
 Complete construction – Winter 2017


Cost

The Mayor and Council approved on August 15, 2011 the award of a contract to Gaithersburg-based Charles P. Johnson and Associates for $288,000. The contract award includes restoration of three storm drain outfall channels and bid alternatives in the event the main channel of Watts Branch requires restoration. Design change order #1 in the amount of $39,108 was approved on August 12, 2013 to perform additional stormwater analysis and field survey more areas of the park.  Design change order #2 in the amount of $92,835 was approved by the Mayor and Council at their November 24, 2014 meeting to provide design and permitting services of addition areas in the park requiring environmental stabilization.  The current total design contract is $419,943.

Citizens Task Force

A Citizens Task Force has been formed. The group's outline and framework provides the task force purpose, objectives and member roles, as well as the proposed meeting projections. This document was reviewed and approved by the participants. 

Task Force Members

  • Tom Miner, College Gardens Civic Association, President
  • Gerry Cashin, Plymouth Woods HOA, Vice President
  • Jim Reschovsky, Woodley Gardens Civic Association, President
  • George Sushinsky, Recreation and Park Advisory Board representative
  • Joe Arrowsmith, Watersheds Committee representative (resigned)
  • Amanda Matheny, Environment Commission representative
  • Steve Cardon, Environment Commission representative
  • Jim Carleton, College Gardens resident
  • Paul O'brien, College Gardens resident, Task Force Chair
  • Ammie Roseman-Orr, College Gardens resident (resigned)
  • Ralph Digaetano, Woodley Gardens resident
  • Greg Kostka, Woodley Gardens resident
  • Lou Marinelli, College Gardens resident

Agendas and Minutes

  • December 19, 2011 - Meeting #1 (Introductions & Task Force Roles)
          Agenda | Minutes

  • March 13, 2012 - Meeting #2 (Environmental Restoration 101)
          Agenda | Minutes
Attachments:
1. Environmental 101 Presentation
2. Stormwater Regulations

  • May 1, 2012 - Meeting #3 (Geomorphic Assessment Methodology)
Agenda | Minutes
 Attachments:
1. Geomorphic Assessment Presentation
2. Project Road Map

  • September 11, 2012 - Meeting #4 (Geomorphic Assessment Results)
Agenda | Minutes
Attachments:
1. Stream Erosion Presentation
2. Critical Areas of Instability (BANCS Method)
3. Environmental Restoration Rehabilitation Limits
4. Environmental Restoration Study Limits
5. Updated Project Road Map

  • November 13, 2012 - Meeting #5 (Stormwater Magenment Methodology)
Agenda | Minutes
Attachments:
1. Proposed Methodology for SWM Analysis
2. PowerPoint Presentation

  • April 9, 2013 - Meeting # 6 
Agenda | Minutes
Attachments:
1. SWM Management Methodology, Construction Access and Storm Drain Outfall Presentation
2. Drainage Area Map
3. Outfall #1 Survey Map: Princeton Place
4. Outfall #2 Survey Map: Azalea Drive
5. Outfall #3 Survey Map: Aster Boulevard
6. Project Road Map 

  • November 20, 2013 - Meeting # 7 (Stormwater Management Analysis)
Agenda | Minutes
Attachments:
1. Stormwater Management Analysis
2. Drainage Area Map
3. Drainage Area Map 2
4. Project Road Map

  • December 2, 2013 - Meeting # 8 (Stormwater Management Analysis Continued)
Agenda I Minutes
Attachments:
1. Stormwater Management Analysis
2. Drainage Area Map
3. Drainage Area Map 2
4. Project Road Map

  • February 26, 2014 - Meeting # 9 (RSC Overview and Outfall 30% Design)
Agenda I Minutes
Attachments:
1. Powerpoint Presentation
2. Outfall Stabilization 30% Design
3. Monitoring Results and Restoration Recommendations
4. Erosion Exhibit
5. Project Road Map

  • February 27, 2014 - Meeting # 10 (RSC Overview and Outfall 30% Design)
Agenda I Minutes
Attachments:
1. Powerpoint Presentation
2. Outfall Stabilization 30% Design
3. Monitoring Results and Restoration Recommendations
4. Erosion Exhibit
5. Project Road Map

  • August 4, 2014 - Meeting # 11 (Stream Concepts and Outfall 60% Designs)
Agenda I Minutes
Attachments:
1. Powerpoint Presentation
2. Upper Watts Branch Overview
3. Outfall #1 60% Design: Princeton Place
4. Outfall #2 60% Design: Azalea Drive
5. Outfall #3 60% Design: Aster Boulevard
6. Mainstem Concept
7. Tributary 1 Concept
8. Tributary 2 Concept

  • November 5, 2014 - Meeting # 12 (Stream 30% Designs)
Agenda I Minutes
Attachments:
1. Powerpoint Presentation
2. Project Road Map: Initial
3. Project Road Map: Final Stage
4. Display Boards

  • Meeting # 13 (No meeting held)

  • March 4, 2015 - Meeting # 14 (Stream 90% designs and Outfall/Wetland Planting)
Agenda I Minutes
Attachments:
1. Powerpoint Presentation
2. Princeton Planting Plan
3. Azalea Planting Plan
4. Aster Planting Plan

  • June 2, 2015 - Meeting # 15 (Stream Planting Plans)
Agenda I Minutes
Attachments:
1. Mainstem Planting Plan

2. Tributary1 Planting Plan
3. Fordham Planting Plan
4. Wetland Planting Plan


Questions from Task Force Members and Residents

In an effort to address questions and concerns from Task Force members and residents, City staff will be posting emails and comments that have been received in between the Task Force meetings. We will address the questions and concerns during the next Task Force meeting and post all responses on the website.

Field Stream Walks

  • February 4, 2012
    On Saturday, Feb. 4, at 9 a.m., the City and its environmental consultant, Charles P. Johnson and Associates, Inc., conducted a stream walk at the Upper Watts Branch Park – Forest Preserve Stream. The purpose of the walk was to observe the environmental elements in the park and channel erosion along the stream and storm drain outfalls.
  • June 18, 2012
    On Monday, June 18, 2012 at 6:30 p.m., the City and the Citizens Task Force conducted a stream walk at the Woodley Gardens Park stream.  The purpose of this walk was to observe a recently completed environmental restoration project.  This project was designed between the summer of 2008 and 2009, and construction occurred between the winter of 2009 and 2010.

ATTENDANCE:
Task Force Members
Tom Miner, College Gardens Civic Association, President
Jim Reschovsky, Woodley Gardens Civic Association, President
Joe Arrowsmith, Watersheds Committee representative
Jim Carleton, College Gardens resident
Paul O'brien, College Gardens resident,Task Force Chair
Lou Marinelli, College Gardens resident

Volunteer
Ben Fischler, Archaeologist

City Staff
John Hollida, Public Works - Engineering
John Scabis, Public Works - Engineering
Elise Cary, Recreation and Parks - Forestry

Attachments:  Project Summary  WG Stream Walk  WG Invasive Species Plan

  • October 27, 2012 
    On Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 9:00 a.m., the City conducted a stream walk through various locations in Montgomery County.  The purpose of the walk was to observe recently completed environmental restoration projects. The location and description of the projects can be found on the links provided below.

Attachments: 
Stream Projects | Field Visit Project Location Map  | Stream Walk Task List | 

  • March 8, 2014

On Wednesday, March 8, 2014, the Citizen Task Force conducted a field walk to preview the upcoming March 26 and March 27 public field walks.

  • March 26, 2014
On Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 6:00 p.m., the City conducted the first of two stream walks in the Upper Watts Branch Park – Forest Preserve Stream. The purpose of the walks was to observe recommended repair sites including three stream sites and three storm drain outfalls.

Attachments: Field Visit Project Location Map


  • March 27, 2014
On Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 6:00 p.m., the City conducted the second of two stream walks in the Upper Watts Branch Park – Forest Preserve Stream. The purpose of the walks was to observe recommended repair sites including three stream sites and three storm drain outfalls.
Attachments: Field Visit Project Location Map | Community Field Walk Postcard

  • October 1 2015 (Open House) & October 3, 2015 (Field Walk)
On Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 6:00 p.m., the City held an open house for the Upper Watts Branch Stream Restoration to allow community members to ask questions and learn more about the project. On Saturday, October 3, The City and the Citizens Task Force conducted a stream walk of seven repair sites, plus the area planned for reforestation, where trees were destroyed by beavers. The purpose of the walk was to your repair sites and inform the community about upcoming construction. 

Attachments: Open House and Field Walk Advisory

Tree Tables and Applications      


Princeton Place Tree Table
Aster Boulevard Tree Table
Azalea Drive Tree Table
Natural Resources Inventory/Forest Stand Delineation (NRI/FSD) Rockville Checklist
Natural Resources Inventory/Forest Stand Delineation (NRI/FSD) Rockville Application

Natural Resource Inventory and Forest Stand Delineation (NRI/FSD) Plan Sheets

Title Sheet
Tree List
Notes
Princeton Place
Azalea Drive
Aster Boulevard

Questions?
If you have questions or concerns about the project, contact the Project Manager John Hollida at his email or 240-314-8526 or Janet Kelly at her email or 240-314-8316.



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2. Attachment 2
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2. Attachment 2
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