The health of Wheaton Branch affect the condition of all the waterways into which it flows, from Sligo Creek to the Atlantic Ocean. Wheaton Branch is a tributary of Sligo Creek which flows into the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River. The Anacostia River feeds into the Potomac River and eventually empties into the Chesapeake Bay.
The stream is located within one Montgomery County's most urbanized watersheds. Before urbanization most stormwater soaked into the ground and recharged groundwater supply. With increased development more and more stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces such as rooftops, roads, parking lots, sidewalks, and driveways flows directly into Wheaton Branch. This runoff transports pollutants to the stream and increases erosion and flooding, leading to decreased water quality for aquatic life and drinking.
Channeling urban streams such as Wheaton Branch, contributes to the problems of polluted runoff, downstream erosion, and flooding. Wheaton Branch was channelized and paved in the 1950's. In 2011 the section of the stream that flows through Evans Parkway Park was restored after extensive reconstruction and vegetation of a 110 foot wide stream corridor through the park.
Stream restoration attempts to reestablish the
natural structure, function, and aesthetic value of a stream system that existed prior to disturbance. This is accomplished through a variety of techniques including:
· Revegetation of the stream corridor and floodplain to stabilize soil and prevent erosion.
· Realignment of the stream channel to a more natural, meandering form.
· Recountouring of the stream bed and addition of boulders to slow the speed of stream flow and create wildlife habitat.
· Widening of the floodplain to reduce the potential for flooding downstream.
Enhanced Water Quality
Restored Habitat for Wildlife
Reduced Potential for Erosion
Poor Water Quality
Little Habitat for Wildlife
Potential for Downstream Erosion