The year was 1984, and Damascus, like much of the County was in the midst of a growth spurt. As new residential and commercial buildings in and around the Town Center were being constructed, the County realized that there was a need to control the stormwater runoff and pollution created by all the new development. In response, the Valley Park Pond was built.
The pond is referred to as a regional pond because it manages stormwater runoff from a large area, a total of 227 acres, 74 acres (32%) of which consists of impervious surfaces, such as roads, rooftops and parking lots. The pond sits on Magruder Branch, the northernmost tributary of Great Seneca Creek. It was originally designed to capture the intense, uncontrolled flows coming from Damascus and release them into Magruder Branch at a slower rate. It also had a small, permanent wet pool. However, by today’s standards, the pond was not providing nearly enough water quality treatment or doing enough to protect Magruder Branch from damage caused by the most frequently-occurring storms.
And then 30 years passed.
Over the course of the past three decades, sediment build-up in the pond reduced its water storage capacity and decreased the pond’s ability to protect waterways. Uncontrolled runoff upstream has led to stream erosion and sediment deposition. Additionally, the riser structure, which regulates the water level and the rate of water flow from the pond, was outdated and in poor condition. Even the pond drain valve was completely rusted shut, making it inoperable.
All the issues with the pond led DEP to make fixing the Valley Park Pond a top priority. The following photos highlight Improvements that DEP made on the Valley Park Pond, which were completed in June 2017:
Since the pond was completed, residents living nearby have been expressing their appreciation and gratitude for the pond improvements. One resident stated that the pond is a “thousand times better” than before the improvements and appreciates seeing water and wildlife like great blue herons outside her window, knowing that the pond is making a positive change in the health of Magruder Branch.
To learn more about this project, visit the Valley Park Pond restoration page on the DEP website. To learn more about other projects throughout the County, take a look at the Watershed Restoration Page on DEP’s website, and to learn more about projects you can do on your own property, please visit the RainScapes page.