Turkey Branch

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"Turkey Branch" is more properly designated as "the Turkey Branch of Rock Creek" or as the "Watery Branch". It is a significant tributary of Rock Creek.

History

In older deed references, Turkey Branch is referred to as "the Watery Branch" of Rock Creek.

Geography

Turkey Branch has multiple headwaters, three major branches, and several minor branches. It flows through and is a primary boundary of Aspen Hill, Maryand.

One major branch originates just south of Bel Pre Road just west of Homecrest Road, and passes through and under apartment complexes and then enters the northeastern side of the grounds of Gate of Heaven Cemetery. Another headwater of this branch originates between Tynewick Terrace and Dunsinane Drive just north of St Matthew Presbyterian Church, where it crosses under Bel Pre Road and runs underground to emerge from its pipe into North Gate Park. From there it crosses into the northwestern side of the grounds of Gate of Heaven Cemetery. These two headwaters flow generally south to join on the Cemetery grounds, and emerge from the grounds of the cemetery between the easternmost end of the Aspen Hill Apartments and Beret Lane. From there this branch turns to the west, flowing between flood control levee to cross under Georgia Avenue just north of Hewitt Avenue. From there it flows generally southwest and is the centerpiece of Matthew Henson State Park. It crosses under Connecticut Avenue (MD-185) just north of Dean Road and Littleton Street. This "East Branch of Turkey Branch" joins the other main branch at a point between Turkey Branch Parkway and Littleton Street, not far from the intersection of Littleton Street and Moray Road. This branch is definitely known as "Watery Branch" or "the Watry Branch" in deeds dating back to the time of settlement.

The "West Branch of Turkey Branch" has multiple headwaters. One headwater of this branch is a set of springs as well as stormwater drainage from the English Manor neighborhood, with the stream having been redirected into pipes under Chelmsford Road and Oakvale Street, which roughly follow the old stream beds. South of English Manor, this headwater emerges briefly into a stormwater cooling and collection pond, then returns underground flowing south under parking lots and Aspen Hill Road to emerge and flow south just west of Connecticut Avenue in a flood-control concrete culvert. Beyond Independence Avenue, It emerges into a newly restored streambed to flow south between Turkey Branch Parkway and Burlwood Drive past Elizabeth Street towards its confluence with the "East Branch".

The "Middle Branch of Turkey Branch" is entirely underground. Its headwaters are generally in the vicinity of the K-Mart. A stormwater cooling and collection pond at the northern corner of Connecticut Avenue and Georgia Avenue helps to control the stormwaters collecting on vast expanses of impervious parking lots of the stores and many of the nearby apartments. The "Middle Branch" follows a subterranean path beneath Connecticut Avenue generally southward, to a subterranean confluence with the "West Branch" more or less just south of the Sunoco station. The combined streams thereafter are to be thought of as the "West Branch".

From the confluence of all of these branches, Turkey Branch flows generally southwest to cross under Veirs Mill Road, where it joins with the main branch of Rock Creek, just north and west of the intersection of Dewey Road and Edgebrook Road.


Flooding

Very significant flows of water can emerge from underground into the concrete flood-control culvert of the "West Branch" during and after significant storms. The "East Branch" has frequently caused flooding where it passes under Georgia Avenue.

Stream Restoration

The "Stormwater Partners Network" has a useful resource providing details on the flood control and stream restoration project.

This will be the work of a decade or so of remediation, due to the longstanding neglect of this stream.

Turkey Branch is a tributary to the Rock Creek watershed. Perhaps you would like to see the website of the Friends of Rock Creek's Environment ("FORCE")?


Friends of Rock Creek's Environment

Friends of Rock Creek's Environment ("FORCE") take an interest in keeping the tributary streams of Rock Creek, and Rock Creek itself, clean and enjoyable as well as promoting environmentally sounds practices.

Martin Luther King Day 2010 Clean-Up

Here are some of the people who came out to help clean up parts of Turkey Branch.

MLK-turkeybranch-1.jpg

(Image courtesy of Edward B Murtagh, January 2010)


External Links

  1. "Stormwater Partners Network" website.
  2. Turkey Branch project page from Stormwater Partners Network
  3. Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection Factsheet on the Turkey Branch project.