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Project Spotlight: Irvine Nature Center

Photo of: Stream at IrvineWith funding from the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund Capital Improvement Grant and the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts, the 116-acre Irvine Nature Center has begun a stream and wetland restoration project in the Jones Falls watershed in Baltimore County.

This environmental education center serves more than 70,000 children and adults each year and conducts nearly 700 public and school programs and projects. Its mission is to educate and inspire current and future generations to explore, respect and protect nature.

The restoration potential was apparent as sections of the tributaries had become incised and other sections had been confined to narrow ditches. The stream and wetland restoration design approach was to repair and restore degraded sections of stream, to divert stormflow to adjacent field areas, enhance riparian wetland hydrology, reduce sediment and nutrient loading to the receiving trout stream, and to reestablish a mosaic of native plant communities.

The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2017 and will result in five new wetlands, totaling 60.6 acres, more than 1,300 feet of stream restoration, and 2,183 trees and shrubs.  Not only will the watershed benefit from reduced nutrient and sediment loading, but visitors to Irvine will also benefit from a restored landscape, a new trail and educational signage.

This project was made possible with support from the Irvine Nature Center and Valley Planning Council in conjunction with Resource Environmental Solutions, Inc. and Biohabitats, Inc.