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Trail and Greenway systems in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, Maryland are overseen by the Maryland National Capitol Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC). These greenway systems are extensive and provide trails for a combined suburban and urban population of over 1.8 million people. These trails systems are also connected to the trail systems of the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C). One well known greenway system is the Anacostia Tributary Trail System which extends into all three jurisdictions. With new additions connecting existing trails in Prince George’s County and the District of Columbia, the Anacostia Tributary Trail System will be one of the largest urban trail systems in the United States.

Early development and the alignment of many sections of the trails occurred in riparian areas located in protected stream valleys. MNCPPC’s mission included the protection of stream valleys for water protection as early as the 1930s. The early placement of recreation based trails was not focused on more recent environmental objectives that include water pollution reduction. In addition, some stream valleys also included roadway systems that were coaligned with trails to accommodate primarily north-south vehicular travel. Trail alignments adjacent to streams, trail material selection, site grading and construction, and relationships to co-aligned roadway systems are all criteria that sometimes differ markedly from the criteria used for more recently planned and designed trails in regards to proximity to stream and other environmental objectives.

Recently the State of Maryland passed Environmental Site Design (ESD) regulations that required the implementation of low impact development practices to provide for greater site infiltration. The general goal is to infiltrate the one inch rainfall event in order to reduce pollution, mitigate flooding and increase overall annual stream base flow.

This paper explores the feasibility of integration of water quality goals and restoration of trails in selected areas and is organized into four sections. First, I will present background information on overall water quality goals that are driving landscape renovation. In addition, the characteristics of the case study

watershed are also described. Second, I present goals and objectives of this study: documentation of opportunities to use retrofitted trail water-centric BMPs to both enhance trails and meet water quality goals. Third, the results include the documentation of two existing trail opportunity types. This includes a description of the site condition, a description of the BMP solution, and the benefits and challenges of the proposed renovation BMP. Fourth, I provide a summary.



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