Environmental Services

Environmental Services - Watershed Planning - Versar, Inc.

Watershed Planning

Versar has outstanding experience in watershed planning and restoration, particularly to meet Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), and municipal stormwater permit requirements. We use both scientific and engineering expertise in applying unique geographic information systems (GIS), modeling, monitoring, and design approaches. We incorporate stormwater green infrastructure, environmental site design, and low impact development solutions; natural stream restoration; and collaborative partnerships with watershed champions to create ecologically sound restoration strategies.

Our experience includes a diversity of watershed planning support to federal and state agencies, counties, municipalities, and interagency commissions. Versar watershed scientists have worked on projects ranging from small, local plans targeting stormwater retrofits within a single catchment to larger plans for river systems affected by many urban and agricultural stressors. In each case, we customize our approach to the scale and goals of the project.

Versar's custom geodatabase tools streamline the restoration planning process, helping us assess costs, quantify pollutant reductions, and rank priority actions more efficiently. In the mid-Atlantic region, we have developed models incorporating Chesapeake Bay TMDL and WIP pollutant reduction factors; tailored analyses to maximize credits; and provided the most cost-effective strategies for meeting requirements.

Our plans include innovative urban stormwater retrofits as a key strategy for improved water quality and quantity management.

We incorporate extensive public involvement and education into the planning process, working interactively with citizens and watershed champions that are important to fostering long-term support for watershed restoration.

Plans for Top Priority Watersheds

In Frederick County, Maryland, Versar prepared plans in urban and agricultural watersheds, particularly to protect drinking water quality. These plans have led to capital projects and citizen engagement for riparian restoration, agricultural best management practices, stream restoration, and urban stormwater.

Small Watershed Action Plans

Versar also worked with Baltimore County, Maryland to create action plans that reduce pollutant loads in the Lower Patapsco and Bird River watersheds. Versar modeled pollution reduction benefits of proposed actions to create an optimal suite of solutions that will meet local and Chesapeake Bay TMDLs.

Developing Stormwater Solutions and Engaging the Public

For the Columbia Watershed Management Plan, Versar identified 116 candidate sites; conducted field reconnaissance at 66 sites; and recommended 18 specific retrofits, developing concept plans for each. Versar led an extensive public outreach campaign to encourage watershed stewardship. This plan has guided the installation of numerous retrofits and served as the basis for obtaining $10M in state trust fund grants.

Rapidly Changing Landscapes

Versar supported Loudoun County, Virginia in creating the Upper Broad Run Watershed Management Plan. Field and GIS assessments provided a picture of current and expected future conditions. Versar identified watershed protection and restoration strategies to maintain good water quality. This pilot plan was designed to be used as a template for watershed plans throughout this rapidly developing county.