Submerged Gravel Wetland – Environmental Project Spotlight

Submerged Gravel Wetland – Environmental Project Spotlight

“A True Environmental Site Design”

 

Client: Town of University Park, MD

Location: University Park, MD

Soltesz developed and sited a typical Environmental Site Design (ESD) facility along Wells Parkway within the park property in University Park, MD. This project was part of the water quality initiative for the Clean Water Partnership in Prince George’s County.  Previously having walked most of Wells Run in the project vicinity, as well as upstream of the site for a separate project, the team knew that this area of the park frequently flooded during more significant storm events, but that there were very few wetlands on the immediate floodplain in this semi-urban area. 

After reviewing the layout of the park property, topography and impervious surface at the site, proximity to Wells Run, and the high water table in the vicinity, the team determined that a submerged gravel wetland would be the best possible environmental fit for this location. A submerged gravel wetland facility is a complicated stormwater BMP to properly design as it relies on relatively small seasonal groundwater fluctuations to function properly.  Siting the submerged gravel wetland near Wells Run allowed a more accurate estimate of the seasonal groundwater levels based on the elevation of the base flow in the adjacent stream channel, and aided in its successful design.

Soltesz designed a landscaping plan for the facility that included all native wetland plant material.  The use of native plant material allows for better sustainability of the plant community in the facility with less required maintenance.  The use of native wetland landscaping, along with the lack of other quality wetlands in the area, has helped to attract wildlife, which has in turn transformed this ESD facility into a thriving mini-ecosystem in its semi-urban environment.

Below is a night time audio recording of the wildlife in this submerged gravel wetland, which was sent to our client, the Town of University Park, MD, by an enthusiastic environmentalist in the area.