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Total Area: 8,814 acres (13.8 mi2)
Average Imperviousness: 6%
Population: 21,260
Population Density: 1,540/mi2
Wetlands: 663 acres


Forest Cover: 60.7%
Deciduous: 2,794.3 acres
Coniferous: 477.2 acres
Mixed: 1500.4 acres
Shrub/Scrub: 281.5 acres

Local Watershed Group:Beaverdam Creek Watershed Watch Group

Upper Beaverdam Creek is a free-flowing tributary of the Northeast Branch of the Anacostia River; the stream joins the Northeast Branch at the confluence with Indian Creek in Greenbelt, Maryland. The subwatershed is generally bound by Odell Road and Good Luck Road to the north and east, Greenbelt Road to the south, and Edmonston Road to the west. The entire subwatershed is located within Prince George's County. Major Upper Beaverdam Creek tributaries include: North Branch tributary, Clear Creek tributary, Beck Branch, Goddard tributary, Entomology Road tributary, and Poultry Road tributary.

Dominant Land Uses: The two dominant land uses in the Upper Beaverdam Creek subwatershed are forest cover (61%) and agricultural (17%). Almost the entirety of the subwatershed is owned by The U.S. Department of Agriculture and is operated as the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC).

Physical Characteristics: The Upper Beaverdam Creek subwatershed is approximately 8,813 acres (13.8 mi2) in size and approximately 6% impervious. This level of imperviousness is the lowest amongst the 14 major Anacostia subwatersheds. Upper 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. It should be noted that portions of the Upper Beaverdam Creek subwatershed once contained small bog iron deposits, which were intermittently mined and used at the Muirkirk iron furnace until approximately the late 1800's. Elevations in the Upper Beaverdam Creek subwatershed range from 258 feet at the Patuxent River watershed/Upper Beaverdam Creek divide to 65 feet at the confluence with Indian Creek. With an average gradient of 0.20 percent over 5.7 miles of its main stem length, Upper Beaverdam Creek flows through federally-owned agricultural and forested lands (i.e., BARC).

Biological Characteristics: Upper Beaverdam is designated a Use I stream (i.e., suitable for water recreation and support of aquatic life) by MDE. Only three (16 percent) out of the County's 18 Upper Beaverdam 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 upper main stem where conditions are generally rated as being very good, the condition of macroinvertebrate populations in both the middle and lower main stem and tributary network is generally fair to good. Macroinvertebrate community conditions in the Clear Creek tributary are generally considered to be the least impaired; whereas, those in the Goddard tributary are the most impacted. Main stem fish populations were similarly rated as being fair to good. The Upper Beaverdam Creek headwaters support a relatively healthy fish community, including sensitive species such as both the American and Least Brook lampreys. The entire main stem is open to both resident and migratory fishes. Unfortunately, minimal tributary fish community-related sampling data presently exists. In general, both main stem and tributary macroinvertebrate and fish communities represent what are believed to be the best of what can be found in the Coastal Plain portion of the Anacostia.

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

Condition Summary: Upper Beaverdam Creek is the least developed subwatershed within the Maryland portion of the Anacostia watershed. As such, it has been used by MDE and others as a reference stream for the Coastal Plain portion of the Anacostia. Approximately 70 percent of the total subwatershed area is woods and fields, and roughly 85 percent of the stream miles have an adequate riparian forest buffer (i.e., 300-foot total width). Initial indications are that far more tributary-specific stormwater retrofitting and stream restoration efforts are needed to restore the aquatic ecosystem of the Upper 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, riparian reforestation, invasive plant management, and potentially additional fish reintroductions.

To get involved in protecting your Anacostia subwatershed contact the Beaverdam Creek Watershed Watch Group.