Lower Wheel Creek

Lower Wheel Creek
Bel Air, MD
Harford County Department of Public Works

Wheel Creek is a second order tributary to Atkisson Reservoir and Winters Run in the Bush River watershed. In 2008,  Clear Creeks and BayLand teamed to conduct a retrofit assessment and field reconnaissance of the Wheel Creek watershed to identify channel instability and sedimentation problems, identify opportunities for implementing stormwater retrofits and channel restoration projects, and prepare a report of preliminary findings with recommendations.  Based on the findings of these studies, restoration recommendations and design concepts were developed, as well as preliminary cost estimates for design and construction.   To facilitate this 2012 effort, seventeen (17) stream assessment reaches were combined into fewer restoration project reaches.  This project involved developing  a restoration  design for those Wheel Creek mainstem and tributary reaches.

Clear Creeks teamed with BayLand Consultants and Designers  to conduct detailed assessments along the mainstem Wheel Creek and its tributaries, develop restoration design plans, obtain permits , and provide construction management for the implementation of those design plans.  Mr. Powell served as Senior Scientist, Stream Restoration Designer and Construction Manager.

Technical Services:

  • Coordination with DPW and landowners
  • Geomorphic Assessment of 5,325  LF  Wheel Creek and its tributaries immediately upstream of Atkisson Reservoir
  • Verified bankfull channel indicators and developing estimates of bankfull discharge;
  • Level II and III Rosgen Stream Classification and Channel Stability Assessments
  • Collecting Bulk Sediment Samples
  • Hydrologic and Hydraulic Analysis,
  • Developed Design Criteria and Conducted Sediment Entrainment Analysis
  • Prepared Findings and Design Reports
  • Prepared Concept, Preliminary and Final Design Plans, Erosion and Sediment Control Plans and Construction Documents
  • Prepared Permit Application Packages and Conducted Pre-Application Meetings for Local, State and Federal Permits
  • Prepared Bid Documents, Materials Quantity Estimates, Attended Pre-Bid Meeting
  • Provided Construction Management Services.

Project Details

Restoration of 5,700 feet of stream restoration along Lower Wheel Creek.

Design objectives along all project reaches included:

  • Grading and stabilization of eroding streambanks,
  • Raising the streambed and excavating bankfull benches to increase floodprone area and reconnect the channel with its floodplain,
  • Modifying meander geometry along reaches with tight meander bends,
  • Narrowing over-wide channel sections by installing toe benches to improve sediment transport capacity,
  • Installing in-stream structures to provide grade control, divert flow away from the stabilized banks, and create in-stream habitat.

Specific design elements included:

  • Along lower gradient C4 reaches toe wood and soil fabric lifts were installed along the outside of meander bends to reconstruct failing banks and provide in-stream habitat.
  • Along steeper gradient B3 and B2 reaches imbricated rock walls and rock outcrops were installed along the outside of meander bends to reconstruct failing banks .
  • Hook-Log Runs, Log-Boulder J-Hooks and Cross Vanes were installed to divert flow away from the reconstructed streambanks.
  • Reaches with steeper gradients were designed with step-pool or cascade morphology. This was accomplished by installing Log-Boulder Steps and Bedding Rock along the pools or Constructed Boulder Cascades.
  • The restoration design also included BMP retrofit designs for four adjacent wetland water quality basins and outfall rehabilitations to provide water quality treatment for runoff from nearby residential communities’ unmanaged storm drain systems.

Although the design and permitting included the entire 5,700 feet along Lower Wheel Creek, construction was broken into to two separate phases.  Each phase was bid separately.

Phase 1 Construction

The first phase of the project included the restoration of 1,350 LF of the Middle Mainstem stream reaches, 750 LF Middle Branch stream reaches and the four wetland water quality basins.  Ecotone, Inc. was the Construction Contractor.  Construction of the first phase was completed in March 2016.

Phase 2 Construction

The second phase of the project included restoration of 3,450 LF of the Lower Mainstem stream reaches and 150 LF of a Spring Seep Channel.  Angler Environmental, Inc. was the Construction Contractor.  Construction of the second phase was completed in March 2017 before the start of the stream closure period.

Middle Branch

Middle Mainstem

Lower Mainstem