Through the collaborative efforts of the Sleepy Creek Watershed Association, the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District, the WV Conservation Agency, the WV Department of Environmental Protection, and the Chesapeake Bay Program, a six-year effort to secure funding and complete a major stream bank restoration project was essentially completed in mid-July this year. The remaining task is to plant soil-stabilizing shrubs and trees when cooler weather permits.
This project has restored approximately 600 feet of stream bank that was experiencing erosion and loss of trees along the top of the bank. Initial assessments by environmental science engineers estimated the site was contributing 163 tons of sediment and associated nutrients each year to Sleepy Creek and the Chesapeake Bay through ongoing erosion of the stream bank. By restoring this section of Sleepy Creek, further erosion will be prevented, aquatic and streamside habitat will be enhanced, and water quality in Sleepy Creek, the Potomac River, and Chesapeake Bay will be improved.
The project is located on the Terry and Danise Edmisten farm at the corner of Winchester Grade, Spriggs, and Autumn Acres Roads. A majority of the funding for the project was secured from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program, with additional contributions from the WV Conservation Agency. To further support implementation of the project, the Edmistens donated 22 acres of conservation easement on the farmland adjacent to the stream bank to the Morgan County Farmland Projection Board. This farmland is now permanently protected from future development that could negatively impact Sleepy Creek.
Contract and financial management was provided by the WV Conservation Agency and the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District. Construction, which included rock revetments, soil lifts, j-hooks on the stream bed, and shrub plantings on the stream banks, was accomplished by Secatello Contracting, LLC, Kearneysville, WV. Construction oversight was provided by Greenway Engineering, Inc., located in Winchester, VA, and Martinsburg, WV.
The Sleepy Creek Watershed Association (SCWA) and Eastern Panhandle Conservation District (EPCD) may have the opportunity to work with other landowners wanting to explore similar projects along Sleepy Creek. If you are interested in looking further into such opportunities please contact Chuck Marsh, SCWA, at 304-258-2605, or Kristen Bisom, EPCD, at 681-247-3011.