Berlin’s Submerged Gravel Wetland Project Completed

Berlin’s Submerged Gravel Wetland Project Completed
The new wetland created on town property between two private businesses is pictured Monday. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN – Construction of the submerged gravel wetland on Graham Avenue is now complete.

Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood said this week final grading at the site had been done. All that remains now is planting to be added in the spring.

Though the project is aimed at improving water quality more than minimizing flooding, Fleetwood said some area residents said they had seen a difference in drainage.

“I have heard positive things,” he said.

Excavation of the submerged gravel wetland on town-owned property between Burley Oak Brewing Co. and the Maryland Coast Dispatch office began in October. The project has long been on the town’s stormwater priority list but failed to get underway in early 2019 when officials determined there was a funding shortfall.

While the town had a $75,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and $45,500 in town funds budgeted for the work, cost estimates came in at $175,000. The project was finally able to move forward in August, when the Maryland Coastal Bays Program offered to make up the funding shortfall with money it had left over from another project in the same watershed.

Goody Hill Groundworks was hired to handle the work, which involved digging a large hole and then backfilling it with stone, soil and piping. Excess soil was taken across the street to Heron Park, where it’s expected to be used as small demolition sites throughout the park are cleaned up. The dilapidated fence around the wetland’s perimeter was also removed.

Fleetwood said he was pleased with how the construction process had gone. He said he’d been advised by some passersby that the wetland wasn’t working, as it wasn’t full of standing water.

“There’s not supposed to be water standing in it,” he said. “It’s a filtration system.”

Officials have said the wetland is meant to provide habitat for local plants, insects and birds and also filter the stormwater going into the Hudson Branch.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.