Northeast Park Pond and Stream Restoration

Before Photos

Pond control structure
Downstream of the pond
Northeast Park Pond with accumulated sediment
Stream in poor condition with highly eroded banks
Outfall off of Southlawn Office and Industrial Center

After Photos

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  1. Project Status

    Planning Design Construction Complete

Project Summary

Northeast Park is located west of East Gude Drive, north of Redgate Farms Court, south of Taft Street, and east of Neal Drive and Wesley Road. The Stormwater Management Facility originates from a 48” outfall south of Taft Street collecting stormwater from a 51-acre storm drain network through residential, commercial, and industrial areas. The pond was originally built in 1973 as part of the stormwater management plan for the conversion of Redgate Farm to a golf course, with 8.14 acre-feet of reservoir capacity, sufficient to provide retention for the 10-year plan. The pond was converted to an extended detention wetland facility in 2005 with a new riser and a regraded micropool. The micropool was dredged frequently and in July 2018 a bathymetric survey was conducted by the city which indicated a 91% loss of capacity.

The objectives of this restoration project were to:

  • Restore pond functionality
  • Reconnect the stream to its floodplain
  • Reduce invasive species while reestablishing native vegetation
  • Assure the pond meets all current regulatory requirements

The project also addressed the erosion at the end of Neal Drive and Wesley Road. The entirety of the project was constructed on City of Rockville Recreation and Parks property. The Pablo A. Fontana Memorial Tree and Bench was protected and maintained.

This project was a true interdepartmental collaboration between staff from Public Works, Environmental Management, Recreation and Parks, and Community Planning and Development Services, including the City Forester and Forestry Inspectors. Staff ensured the best direction for the park moving forward by creating a healthier ecosystem and will install an educational podium after construction to highlight the stream restoration technique, stormwater management, and water quality improvements of this project.

Each tree that was removed or impacted was individually assessed and cataloged. Design considerations were based on each tree’s environmental significance, appropriate forested community, appropriate soil moisture/inundation characteristics, and overall health. Replanting was closely coordinated with the City Forester and Forestry Inspectors. The number of replacement trees was maximized for the site and located to help ensure project success and tree survivability.

At the uppermost limits of the project, the stormdrain outfall discharges to a riprap protection area and 450 feet of restored stream prior to the pond. As part of the stream restoration process, the design included a riffle-weir system, intended to mimic what might be found in nature. This system provides stream stability while gently transitioning the stream from the outfall to the pond. By grading back the banks, the stream restoration allows the stream to reconnect with its floodplain during rain events thereby providing flood attenuation for the flashy nature of this stormdrain network. This type of stream restoration also allowed us to create riparian floodplain enhancements such as vegetated benches, pocket wetlands, and vernal pools within the park.

Going forward, the pond will continue to successfully collect sediment and pollutants from stormwater runoff, while reducing the pollutant load on local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. With the new pond design, the pond can be readily maintained in the future without any impacts to the park or the community, while reducing the capital costs of maintenance by creating an easily accessible collection area.

By installing bioretention planter boxes at the end of both Neal Drive and Wesley Court, we can capture roadway runoff from those streets and maximize treatment of the pollutant load on the pond. Each bioretention cell has been planted with native sedges and rushes, and herbaceous plants such as the cardinal flower, blue flag, and blue mistflower. Coupled with these efforts, steps were taken to improve native vegetation and ecological site diversity throughout the park. The city developed a landscaping approach of planting fast-growing, early successional, native species to outcompete the non-native and invasive species. The city is committed to experimenting with enhanced methods of vegetative establishment in order to encourage reforestation and promote the regrowth of native species.

This project strives to reestablish a healthy stream buffer and enhance the natural habitat within the park, where not only aquatic wildlife, but the whole park’s biodiversity, will thrive. The site will be more photogenic in the spring, as the herbaceous seeding is either dormant or has been laid over moving planting material around the site. The wetland herbaceous material is also preparing for dormancy. The city will monitor and inspect the facility for 5 years following construction.

Project Budget 

  • Construction Duration: 10 Months
  • Cost of Design: $185,000
  • Cost of Construction (approximately): $1,750,000

Project Timeline

  • Feb. 25, 2019: Project initiated.
  • Oct. 28, 2019: Schematic design, 30% completed.
  • Dec. 3, 2019: Initial public meeting with presented exhibits.
  • July 1, 2020: Conceptual design, 60% completed.
  • Jan. 2021: Final design completed. 
  • Feb. 18, 2021: Second public meeting with exhibit
  • Aug. 2021: Final regulatory approval.
  • Jan. 11, 2023: Construction began.
  • Nov. 2023: Construction completed.
Project Manager