Download map
Total Area: 9,694 acres (15.1 mi2)
Average Imperviousness: 21%
Population: 34,700
Population Density: 2,290/mi2
Wetlands: 897 acres

Forest Cover: 30.9%
Deciduous: 1,553.4 acres
Coniferous: 187.0 acres
Mixed: 897.1 acres
Shrub/Scrub: 405.4 acres

Local Watershed Group:Citizens to Conserve and Restore Indian Creek

Indian Creek is a free-flowing tributary of the Northeast Branch of the Anacostia River; the stream joins the Northeast Branch at the confluence with the Paint Branch in College Park, Maryland. The subwatershed is generally bound by Muirkirk Road and Edmonston Road/Kenilworth Avenue to the north and east, College Park Airport to the south, and Old Gunpowder Road to the west. The entire subwatershed is located within Prince George's County. Major Indian Creek tributaries include: Rocky Acres tributary, Virginia Manor tributary, Muirkirk tributary, Home Acres tributary, Vansville Park tributary, Narragansett tributary, Greenbelt Lake tributary and Berwyn tributary.

Dominant Land Uses: Dominant land uses in the Indian Creek subwatershed include forest cover (31%), residential (26%), extractive (sand and gravel mining, 12%), agricultural (11%) associated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), and industrial (9%).

Physical Characteristics:The Indian Creek subwatershed is 9,932.8 acres (15.5 mi2) in size and approximately 21% impervious. Elevations range from 370 feet at the subwatershed divide to 35 feet at the confluence with Paint Branch. Indian Creek, which is contained wholly within the Coastal Plain physiographic province, has an average mainstem gradient of 0.52%.

Biological Characteristics: Indian Creek is designated a Use I stream (i.e., suitable for water recreation and support of aquatic life) by the MDE. Two-thirds (66 percent) of the County's 12 Indian Creek Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) main stem sampling stations were rated as having either non-supporting or partially supporting physical aquatic habitat conditions present. With the exception of the lower main stem where conditions are generally rated as being good, the condition of macroinvertebrate populations in both the Indian Creek main stem and tributary network is generally fair to good. Main stem fish populations were rated as being either fair or good. The lower Indian Creek main stem downstream of the Greenbelt Metro Station appears to support a relatively healthy fish community (i.e., good rating). Unfortunately, tributary fish community-related sampling data is largely non-existent. In general, both main stem and tributary macroinvertebrate and fish communities remain impacted.

Several physical barriers to both resident and anadromous fish movement and migration are present (e.g., concrete channelized stream sections, perched road culverts, piped stream sections, etc). These, as well as other barriers in Indian Creek have been identified and remain as a restoration challenge for this subwatershed. It should be noted that efforts on the part of Prince George's County and others to remove fish blockages, control stormwater runoff, restore both tributary and main stem instream habitat, create wetlands, reforest riparian corridors, and reintroduce migratory fish to the subwatershed remain on-going.

Condition Summary: Indian Creek is one of the more industrialized subwatersheds within the Maryland portion of the Anacostia watershed. Approximately 70 percent of the total subwatershed area is developed, and roughly 31 percent of the stream miles have an adequate riparian forest buffer (i.e., 300-foot total width). Initial indications are that far more stormwater retrofitting and stream restoration efforts are needed to restore the aquatic ecosystem of the Indian Creek subwatershed. Planned future projects include, but are not limited to: stormwater management focusing on the employment of low impact development (LID) and environmentally sensitive design (ESD), wetland creation, aquatic and terrestrial habitat restoration, fish barrier modification/removal, invasive plant management, trash reduction and potentially additional fish reintroductions.

To get involved in protecting your Anacostia subwatershed contact the Citizens to Conserve and Restore Indian Creek.