Upper Watts Branch Forest Preserve

Watts Branch is a 22 square mile watershed that drains into the Potomac River. The headwaters of Watts Branch, approximately 16 miles of stream, originate in the western half of the City of Rockville. Due to impacts of development and stormwater runoff, Watts Branch is experiencing increased erosion, which releases excess sediment and other pollutants that contribute to poor water quality in the stream, the Potomac River, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, this erosion threatens public infrastructure, trails and forest and wetland habitat. The Upper Watts Branch Park Forest Preserve Environment Restoration Project will enhance the Watts Branch watershed through stream restoration, stormwater management, wetland enhancement, reforestation and protection of public utilities.

The project was recommended in the (PDF) Watts Branch Watershed Study and Management Plan (PDF) as a crucial component to the long-term health of the watershed. It was also recommended

project manager
  1. Project Status

    Planning Design Construction Complete


The total design contract was approved for $419,943. On January 23, 2017, the Mayor and Council awarded a construction contract to Environmental Quality Resources, Inc. for $1,759,561.80.


  • August 2011 - Mayor and Council Award design
  • October 2011 - Initiate study
  • September 2012 - Storm Drain Outfall Channels
  • February 2014 - Stream Channels
  • April 2013 - Storm Drain Outfall Channels
  • August 2014 - Stream Channels
  • February 2014 - Storm Drain Outfall Channels
  • November 2014 - Stream Channels
  • August 2014 - Storm Drain Outfall Channels
  • March 2015 - Stream Channels
  • January 23, 2017 - Mayor and Council Award construction
  • April 14, 2017 - Construction


  • Minimize/control channel erosion
  • Protect existing utilities in and near streams from erosion damage
  • Reduce pollutants entering the stream
  • Protect existing forest areas
  • Protect and enhance existing wetlands
  • Enhance stream, forest, and riparian habitats
  • Protect and maintain existing trail systems
  • Establish native plants and control invasive vegetation