The Lower Monocacy subwatershed is located in western Montgomery
County. Four subwatersheds drain nearly 30 square miles of land
in a southwesterly direction from the Damascus area towards Frederick
County and into the Monocacy River: Little Bennett Creek, Bennett
Creek, Furnace Branch, and Fahrney Branch. Landuse in this part
of the County consists primarily of agriculture interspersed with
many large tracts of forest. Some of the highest quality streams
in the County are found here, and these serve as reference streams
as part of the County's stream protection program. Other areas show
evidence of having been impacted by past agricultural land use,
reflected by bank instability and sedimentation problems. Stream-related
improvements are taking place primarily in areas where forested
buffers and best land use management practices have been implemented.
Little Bennett Creek
Most of the Little Bennett subwatershed is protected by parkland,
and supports a coldwater wild brown trout population in its headwater
tributaries to the north and east of Route 355. However, the naturally
"flashy" and low baseflow nature of Little Bennett have produced habitat
and flow problems which limit it as a cold water fishery.
The headwaters of Bennett Creek begin near Damascus. Land use within
the Bennett Creek watershed is predominantly agriculture and has
many large forested tracts. The underlying geology influences the
streams hydrology and contributes to a naturally "flashy"
stream with low baseflows. Despite this, it still supports a thriving
coolwater fish community. Much of Bennett Creek is within the County's
Agricultural Preserve, where development is limited in general to
large lot residential at 25 acre lots or larger.
Furnace Branch headwaters begin in western Montgomery County near
Beallsville and Comus. Much of the drainage is in protected status
as it is within the Monocacy Natural Resources Area or Sugarloaf
Fahrney Branch starts west of Damascus near Kemptown. Much of Fahrney
Branch is in the Agricultural Preserve. Fahrney Branch joins Bennett
Creek in Frederick County.
Watershed Implementation Plan
Montgomery County Lower Monocacy Watershed Implementation Plan (PDF, 39 pp, 1.61 Mb)
Lower Monocacy Creek is the most rural watershed in the County and has the least amount of area subject to the County MS4 permit. In addition, there are no currently identified restoration projects within the watershed. Therefore, during the MS4 permit cycle through 2015, the Plan proposes only a very small amount of private property ESD. During the subsequent permit cycle, more focus is placed on private and public ESD as well as stream restoration and programmatic strategies such as street sweeping to target sediment loads associated with the TMDL. In future permit cycles, stream restoration is pursued for pollutant load reduction. According to the model employed in the Countywide Coordinated Implementation Strategy, the sediment WLA within the MS4 permit area is projected to be met around 2025.
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