Abstract: Session F  3:10 pm (Back to Session F)
Morphological Response of Sucker Branch to the 2016 and 2018 Floods: Lessons Learned from a Flood-Prone Urban Valley

Ian Turner, P.G.
Century Engineering, Inc.
Hunt Valley, MD

Century Engineering, Inc. (CEI) was tasked with preparing stream restoration plans for a segment of Sucker Branch and its adjoining tributaries in Howard County, Maryland. The project area straddles the Fall Line transition zone in eastern Howard County and was affected by the July 2016 and May 2018 1000-year flood events. Topographic data were collected at the site prior to the 2016 flood, and the area was resurveyed less than 6 months prior to the May 2018 flood event. The purpose of this presentation is to highlight the challenges associated with floodplain and stream restoration in a flood-prone urban corridor and discuss the ways in which analysis of post-flood geomorphic changes can inform the design process. The  highly urbanized landscape of the surrounding watershed, combined with the steep, confined condition of the stream valley, contribute to a uniquely risky setting for a successful restoration project. Comparisons of pre and post-flood topographic data from 2016 and 2018 provide valuable insight into how steep, alluvial and colluvial valleys in the Fall Line transition zone respond to high magnitude flood events; interpretation of these data can further aid in the development of  functional, resilient restoration plans.