DOPC Awarded Centennial Challenge Grant

Stormwater runoff and related erosion pose a significant threat to the park’s signature stream system of dams and pools. The Conservancy has been documenting the gradual decay of the park’s Farrand-designed watercourse as large storms and urban runoff have increased the flow of water through the stream valley. This complex issue which is in part due to the Park’s geographic location at a low point among the surrounding properties, has remained unaddressed. Now a Centennial Challenge Grant will help provide a solution to one of the park’s most dire issues.

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Runoff and erosion threaten the park’s waterfalls

To celebrate its 100th Birthday, a special Challenge Grant program was announced by the National Park Service (NPS). The Conservancy and Rock Creek Park have won one of 69 matching grants awarded in 2016. $385,349 has been set aside by NPS to design and implement a stormwater management system. DOPC must raise an equal amount of money in matching funds for a total of $770,698.  Divided into design and implementation phases, DOPC’s first $65,000 was submitted in June 2016 and matched one-to-one by NPS. This $130,000 will be used to conduct preparatory studies required by the National Environmental Policy Act such as environmental impacts, engineering and design studies.

Once these studies have been completed, the second tranche of the grant, $320,000 will be released by the Park Service when the Conservancy has raised its $320,000. The combined $640,000 will be used to implement large-scale stormwater remediation measures at the northern end of the park. This is the first step in tackling the Park’s extensive issues with runoff. Building on the Conservancy’s education programs with area schools, DOPC envisions using this project as a teaching tool for sharing the story of stormwater management and habitat enhancement.

These efforts mark a continuation of DOPC’s extensive restoration efforts in the park, which have been accomplished with the help of many partners including the Rock Creek division of NPS, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Casey Trees, the Montgomery County Conservation Corps (an at-risk-youth program,) the Georgetown Garden Club and individual volunteers.

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Crew members and volunteers participate in a planting day with Casey Trees in April 2016 in the park’s Upper Stream Valley

DOPC needs to raise $320,000 in order to meet the organization’s commitment to the matching grant. Help us make this important work a reality by donating to our Centennial Challenge Campaign now, or volunteering to help in our fundraising efforts.

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