FREDERICK, Md. - Fort Detrick is home to Shookstown Creek, one of more than 100,000 rivers and streams that make up the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which covers 64,000 square miles across six states. Over time, the creek lost its natural form, resulting in erosion, loss of habitat for plants and animals, and increased pollution.Installation Management Command (IMCOM) invested $2.1 million to restore, realign, and stabilize 3,624 linear feet (.7 miles) of stream to a more natural state, create an additional 13,164 square feet (.3 acres) of wetlands, and plant approximately 800 native trees. Appropriate areas were also seeded with a pollinator seed mix, including milkweed, to support monarch butterfly populations. The stream restoration was completed over an eight-month period, from April to November 2020.“Shookstown Creek is located in an interjurisdictional flood hazard watershed and a tributary of Carroll Creek which flows through downtown Frederick. The restoration activities will aid in the reduction of storm flows to Carroll Creek and help alleviate flooding of downtown Frederick,” said Mark Lewis, program manager for environmental sustainment at For Detrick. “The restoration further reduces nutrients and pollutants that could be transported to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.The ambitious project reduces stream bank erosion, vastly enhances aquatic habitat for plants and animals, and re-establishes critical connectivity to the floodplain and greater watershed. Ultimately, it will also reduce sediment and nutrient loading to the Chesapeake Bay, which is crucial for the health of the plants and animals that live there. Sediment clouds the water and can smother habitat for oysters and other wildlife, while nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous can cause algal blooms that reduce light infiltration to critical aquatic grasses.“The Fort Detrick stream restoration was completed as a project to meet Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements for the reduction of stormwater pollutants,” said Lewis. “The stream restoration project was selected due to the degraded condition of the existing channel and surrounding floodplain. The restored stream decreases peak storm event flows and allows pollutants to settle out from the stormwater runoff.”The project brings Fort Detrick into compliance with its Maryland Department of the Environment stormwater permit requirements, and compliance with the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The CWA established a National Pollutant discharge Elimination System (NPDES), which included, in part, measures to reduce common pollutants in stormwater runoff, which is a major source of pollution to our surface waters.Under the authority of the CWA, the United States Environmental Protection Agency committed to establishing a strict “pollution diet” to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its network of local rivers and streams that contribute some 51 billion gallons of water to the massive estuary daily. The “diet” is known as a total daily maximum daily load, or TMDL, and includes discharge limits for nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment. The Shookstown Creek project is estimated to prevent 272 lbs of nitrogen, 246 lbs of phosphorous, and 163,000 lbs of sediment from entering the Chesapeake Bay annually.The Shookstown Creek restoration project is just one of many efforts made by Army environmental planners and other regulated entities to comply with the TMDL, which has resulted in an overall 70 percent increase in underwater grass acreage since the first survey in 1984. Recent declines in grass coverage, however, point to how critical it is to continue such environmental restoration efforts to improve water quality.