ST. LUKE'S RESTORATION OF NATURE
AN URBAN SANCTUARY
St. Luke’s Restoration of Nature is a four-acre comprehensive watershed restoration and environmental learning center located in the heart of the densely populated Eastport peninsula on the grounds of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Our goal is to educate and inspire all people to be better stewards of our shared home by restoring nature in their own communities.
Best management practices (BMP) at the top of the project include a rain garden and regenerative stormwater conveyance with curb cuts and bio-swales that feed a restored historic stream channel. The stream was re-established by daylighting stormwater pipes, allowing the water to enter a series of step pools and weirs that naturally convey stormwater while slowing it down and spreading it out. These practices replenish the aquifer through infiltration while also treating the water as it flows and seeps through the stream channel and re-established balanced ecosystem. At the tidal interface, the Restoration ties in more BMPs by re-establishing native tidal marsh habitat and living shoreline on Watergate Pointe’s property, further improving water quality and wildlife habitat while stabilizing eroding banks.
The resulting clean water and quality habitat have already enabled frogs, turtles, spawning fish, and other aquatic species to thrive. Overall restoration is providing food and shelter for flora and fauna. Reduced pollution is benefiting the City of Annapolis and providing significant Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) reduction credits to help meet the Chesapeake Bay Program’s blueprint for restoration. Finally, the Restoration has created quality green space for the community in a park-like setting, which doubles as an outdoor environmental learning center for teaching environmental literacy and watershed restoration techniques to all ages.
Our project was featured in the Chesapeake Quarterly!
About Bowen's Branch
At the dedication ceremony for St. Luke's Restoration of Nature on September 9, 2018, the restored stream was named in memory of Ron Bowen. Ron spent 30 years as a public servant in our community through the Public Works Department of Anne Arundel County. He retired in 2013 as Director of Public Works. Ron championed innovative watershed restoration initiatives and a collaborative spirit between government and citizens. He co-founded the Watershed Stewards Academy to enable everyone who “lives, works and plays” in Anne Arundel County to be part of the solution to stormwater pollution. Ron died in May of 2018, leaving a legacy of environmental stewardship and service to the community. Without his legacy, St. Luke's Restoration of Nature would never have been possible. Learn more about Ron Bowen by clicking here to read a tribute on the Watershed Stewards Academy website.
The Restoration was made possible by: Maryland Department of Natural Resources Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, and Chesapeake Bay Trust. It was designed and constructed by Underwood & Associates. The environmental learning center was funded by the United Thank Offering, a mission organization within the Episcopal Church. Contributing grantors and sponsors include: St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Annapolis Subaru, Watergate Pointe, Severn River Association, Back Creek Conservancy, Maryland Environmental Trust, Unity Gardens, and donations from community businesses, neighbors, and church members.
MAP OF THE GROUNDS
The St. Luke's Restoration of Nature covers 4 acres stretching from Bay Ridge Avenue down to Back Creek in the Eastport section of Annapolis, Maryland. The 1.2-mile educational trail (red line on the map) begins at the entrance to the church parking lot near the corner of Monroe Street and Bay Ridge Avenue. Educational signage along the way describes the Best Management Practices (BMPs) employed to slow the water and promote infiltration, as well as certain ecological processes that help treat the stormwater on its transit to Back Creek.