Anne Arundel County Announces $8M Effort To Restore Eroding Jabez Branch


Sediment plumes from Jabez Branch 3 and Severn Run seep into the Severn River, threatening this delicate ecosystem. (Photo Credit: Davis Wallace)

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY - On Thursday, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman unveiled a multi-million dollar initiative to rejuvenate Jabez Branch, a small stream just north of the Severn River.

Jabez Branch has been grappling with severe erosion and pollution for over a decade - large portions of the coastal terrain have become unstable, resulting in sediment, debris, and pollutants getting washed into the Severn River with every rain.

The coastal degradation has severely impacted the Severn River's headwaters, once a thriving spot for perch spawns in the Chesapeake Bay.

A Severn Riverkeeper examines the eroded banks of Jabez Branch. (Photo Credit: Sarah Caldes, Severn Riverkeeper)

The Severn River Commission alerted the Maryland Department of Natural Resources about the unstable condition of the Severn Run Environmental Area valley ten years ago, pointing out its contribution of sediment, debris, and pollutants to the Severn Run. Since then, collaborative efforts have been ongoing to research, design, and secure permissions for the stream's restoration.

"Centuries of agriculture caused sediment to settle downstream, then as the surrounding land was paved and built on, water rushed off those hard surfaces and into streams so fast it cut into the banks," said Fred Kelly, Executive Director of the Severn Riverkeeper Program. "It is a completely broken system. The banks are eroding, the wetlands are drying out, the ecosystem is dying."

The county plans to fill the channel — 10 feet deep or more in places — with native sands, gravel, and wood chips to reconnect it with its floodplain. Small pools will be added to slow the branch's flow, and 2.6 acres of wetlands bordering the stream will be enhanced to help the area better withstand storms.

The project, backed by over $8M in grant funding from the Resilience Authority, is set for completion this fall.

For additional details on the Resilience Authority or the restoration of the Jabez Branch, visit

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