|Total Area: 9,561 acres (14.9 mi2)
Average Imperviousness: 32%
Population Density: 8,454/mi2
Wetlands: 73 acres
Forest Cover: 25%
Deciduous: 1,192 acres
Coniferous: 151.2 acres
Mixed: 737.9 acres
Shrub/Scrub: 411.6 acres
|Local Watershed Group: Friends of Lower Beaverdam Creek|
Lower Beaverdam Creek is a largely free-flowing tributary of the Anacostia River. It joins the river in the District of Columbia approximately a quarter mile downriver from the Maryland state line. The subwatershed is generally bound by the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495) and Central Avenue (MD Route 214) to the north and east, the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens/Kenilworth Marsh to the south, and Annapolis Road (MD Route 450) to the west. Approximately 99.8 percent of the subwatershed is located within Prince George's County, with the remaining 0.2 percent located in the District of Columbia. Major Lower Beaverdam Creek tributaries include: Cattail Branch, Cabin Branch, Landover Hills tributary, Cheverly tributary and Tuxedo Road tributary.
Dominant Land Uses: Dominant land uses in the subwatershed include residential (44%), forest cover (25%), and industrial (17%).
Physical Characteristics: The Lower Beaverdam Creek subwatershed is approximately 9,561 acres (14.9 mi2) in size and approximately 32 percent impervious. Lower Beaverdam Creek is located entirely within the Coastal Plain physiographic province. Geologically, the Coastal Plain portion of the Anacostia watershed is characterized by largely unconsolidated sedimentary deposits of sands, gravels, silts and clays.
In response to localized flooding problems, major portions of both the Cattail and Cabin Branches were (in the 1950's-60's) straightened and placed within concrete-lined channels. During the same time period and for similar reasons, portions of the upper, middle and lower main stems were straightened and placed within an improved earth-lined channel network. The lower main stem section in the immediate vicinity of Kenilworth Avenue has also been channelized within a concrete-lined system, so as to reduce flooding problems.
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 Lower Beaverdam 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.
Biological Characteristics: Lower Beaverdam Creek is designated a Use I stream (i.e., suitable for water recreation and support of aquatic life) by MDE and the lower 3,300 foot tidal section has been classified by the District of Columbia as 'A' (Primary Contact Recreation), 'B' (Secondary Contact Recreation and Aesthetic Enjoyment), 'C' (Protection, and Propagation of Fish, Shellfish and Wildlife) and 'D' (Protection of Human Health Related to Consumption of Fish and Shellfish) waters. Prince George's County's twelve Lower Beaverdam Creek Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) main stem sampling stations were rated as having partially supporting physical aquatic habitat conditions present. In general, both main stem and tributary macroinvertebrate and fish communities and physical habitat remain impacted. The condition of macroinvertebrate populations in both the Lower Beaverdam Creek main stem and tributary network is generally poor to fair. Lower main stem macroinvertebrate and fish populations were rated as being fair.
Condition Summary: Lower Beaverdam Creek is the most heavily industrialized subwatershed within the Maryland portion of the Anacostia watershed, and almost the entire subwatershed was developed well before stormwater management controls were required (i.e., in the 1950's - 60's). Consequently, the subwatershed experiences high runoff volumes, trash levels and pollutant loadings. As of 2005, approximately 90-95 percent of the total subwatershed area was developed, and roughly 20 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 Lower Beaverdam 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.