Every year, the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore takes the pulse of water quality in the harbor by evaluating several indicators of water quality. This year’s report, released in May, shows that fecal bacteria levels in Baltimore streams and the Inner Harbor improved substantially in the last year. The report details that certain areas of the Jones Falls and Patapsco River were safe to swim in nearly all of last summer, as 100 percent of the water samples taken from those areas had safe levels of bacteria, according to the report.
While more data is needed to determine whether there is a real trend of decreasing pollution and increasing water quality, the current results are promising and indicate that efforts around the harbor could be pushing the health of surrounding waters in the right direction. Credit for this improvement can be attributed in part to conservation and community efforts, which includes work from over 14,000 volunteers, throughout Baltimore City and Baltimore County. There have also been improvements to storm water management, which is critically important to a truly healthy harbor.
This sort of positive news inspires us in our ongoing conservation efforts, and gives us hope for an even better Harbor Heartbeat report in the years to come! Individuals can help improve local water quality by planting native plants, as less pavement and more soil and green space helps rain to soak in, and creates important habitat for wildlife. Supporting oyster farms and oyster restoration—such as the new artificial oyster reef we’re creating near our floating wetland prototype—around the Bay is another great way to help. In addition, continuing to reduce, reuse and recycle and correctly dispose of trash keeps pollution from washing down storm drains and into local waterways!
Learn about the National Aquarium’s commitment to improving the health of the Inner Harbor through our Waterfront Campus.