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Martin Dam Removal

The Martin Farm Pond Dam is located on a 42-acre property in Fallston, Maryland which has been owned by the Martin family for over 50 years. The dam was constructed in 1965 and received pond volume due to farm runoff and groundwater spring inputs. The site is located entirely in a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) targeted ecological area, and is designated a Use-Class III tributary which identifies it as a waterway essential to the growth and propagation of trout. The dam is currently impacting water flow and thermal properties of the natural stream downstream, which contains a documented wild population of brook trout within Overshot Branch, a tributary of Little Gunpowder Falls. Maryland Department of the Environment Dam Safety Division was notified that the dam was in a “deteriorating condition” in 2013 and Martin Pond Dam was given a “hazard dam” designation.  Should a catastrophic dam failure occur, an estimated 1,700 tons of TSS, 158 lbs. of nitrogen, and 37 lbs. of phosphorus could enter the Gunpowder River and damage the trout habitat.

Upon completion of construction, this project will result in the safe breaching of the dam and associated adaptive management techniques. This would allow stream reconnection to the cold springs of the headwater, currently buried below the pond’s surface volume.  In addition, our team will take measures to restore a 2.47-acre stream-wetland complex in the current pond basin that will enable those historic cold water springs in the pond to flow quickly and in a stable configuration into the stream, supporting an appropriate thermal profile of downstream trout waters. The project will also enhance 7.91 acres of declining forested wetland below the existing dam, and restore approximately 1,610 linear feet of headwater stream draining to Overshot Branch. Post-construction adaptive management activities will maximize habitat benefits for key species such as bog turtles, brook trout, and others. The project will also provide nutrient and sediment removals, improve the condition of the stream and wetland complex of Overshot Branch, protect native trout populations and prevent potential damage to the watershed due to a potential future dam failure event.


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