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Water Quality Monitoring

The Center for Watershed Protection and Blue Water Baltimore work together to sample Baltimore storm drains for bacteria.

Keeping track of water quality is essential to measuring our progress towards a swimmable and fishable Habor. Tracking requires ongoing monitoring at multiple sites both in the Harbor and in the streams (Jones Falls and Gwynns Falls) that feed into it.

Thank to a generous grant from the Abell Foundation, we are collaborting with Blue Water Baltimore and EcoCheck to create the first ever comprehensive annual State of the Harbor report card program.

Previously, this same team has worked together to gather existing data on the water quality of Baltimore's streams and Harbor and used it to prepare a baseline assessment of existing conditions.  Watch for the first annual report card, coming out in the Summer of 2012!

Blue Water Baltimore Harbor Monitoring

Blue Water Baltimore conducts water quality monitoring in Baltimore Harbor on a weekly basis during the sampling season (Spring through Fall).  Their new bacteria monitoring website shows the results of bacteria monitoring occurring at sites around the Harbor and rates their water contact risk as low, medium, and high.  Check it out for the most up to date and specially diverse information on water quality in Baltimore Harbor available!

Eyes on the Bay

Through a partnership between the Maryland Environmental Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, realtime water quality data is available from a permanent monitoring station located at Masonville Cove in Baltimore Harbor.  

It may not be much to look at, but the Masonville Cove monitoring site is currently the most reliable source of water quality data in Baltimore Harbor and it has informed both the Healthy Harbor Plan and the Baseline Conditions Report.

To get up to date water quality data visit the Patapsco River - Masonville Cove site (link leaves site).

Water quality indicators monitored include:

  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Salinity
  • Water Temperature
  • pH
  • Turbidity
  • Chlorophyll
  • Phycoerythrin

Chesapeake Bay Smart Buoy System

The Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System is a colelction of 10 smart buoys located throughout the Chesapeake Bay.  These buoys measure a wide array of water quality indicators and share their results in realtime via a website and a smart phone app.

This observation system was developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with the support of host partner organizations, including the Chesapeake Conservancy and the National Park Service.

The closet buoy to Baltimore is located at the mouth of the Patapsco River, where it meets the Chesapeake Bay.  Click here for up to the minute water quality information.