2 Wilde Lake stream channels need attention, UM study finds But the watershed generally is stable, evaluation shows

February 16, 1996|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,SUN STAFF

Streams in Columbia's oldest watershed -- the 21-acre Wilde Lake -- are stable overall but some, including one in a resident's back yard in Beaverbrook, need attention, according to a University of Maryland study.

The results of the 16-month Wilde Lake Stream Evaluation and Sediment Study were made public last night by Dr. Peggy A. Johnson, assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, at the Columbia Council meeting.

The 10-member council -- the Columbia Association's board of directors -- joined with UM in July 1994 to evaluate ways to reduce erosion in the watershed.

Built 20 years ago, before storm management control in Wilde Lake village, the lake has suffered from harmful algae blooms and sediment accumulation over the past decade, Dr. Johnson said.

While the stream channels in general were rated stable to moderately stable, two areas cause concern, Dr. Johnson and co-researcher Thomas M. Heil found.

One is a moderately unstable stream along Durham Road West, which runs through a resident's back yard. A swale there has grown into a stream and the channel bed has degraded and the bank has eroded, Dr. Johnson said .

The resident, whose name wasn't immediately available, likes to mow his lawn up to the stream. But because the stream bank is unstable, "we're afraid he'll fall in," Dr. Johnson said.

The second area of concern is erosion and the widening of a channel near August Light in the Faulkner Ridge neighborhood, Dr. Johnson said.

To stabilize these conditions, Dr. Johnson recommended planting vegetation and restructuring stream banks so they are angled rather than vertical. If they are sloped, they don't cave in, she said. If this is done, sediment yield into Wilde Lake would be reduced and water quality would be improved, Dr. Johnson said.

The study, which cost approximately $75,000, came after a group of Wilde Lake village residents expressed concern about excess sediment on the lake bottom and the lake's overall decline.

The study also found that the rate of erosion at Wilde Lake is 392 cubic meters of sediment each year.

Because there was no storm management system when Columbia was built, "20 years later, we see the effects," said Charles "Chic" Rhodehamel, the association's assistant director of open space maintenance.

The council and county government provided $37,000 for the study.

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