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Surface Water Monitoring Program

The Surface Water Monitoring Program is responsible for evaluating the in-stream water quality of the County’s streams and rivers for purposes of developing a long-term water quality characterization of pollutant loadings from the Parole and Odenton Town Center areas.  The core program currently maintains two long-term stations where continuous stream flow is recorded, storm events are automatically sampled, and baseflow water quality data are collected monthly; and an additional two stations for monthly baseflow data collection only.
This original program was expanded scope to incorporate the required storm event and in-stream characterization required under the County’s NPDES MS-4 permit into the current monitoring program.  This program expansion has resulted in oversight of monitoring at two water quality monitoring locations on Church Creek in the South River Watershed, as well as incorporation of biological monitoring and physical stream stability in two stream reaches (Church Creek in Parole and Picture Spring Branch in Odenton) associated with the Town Center areas.
In addition to these requirements, this program performs surface water quality sampling as necessary to further watershed assessment work accomplished by the County on an as-needed basis.  An example of this work effort would be the inclusion of water quality monitoring in support of the Magothy River Watershed Restoration Study.  This was a grant-funded watershed assessment in which the County provided in-kind services in the form of water quality sampling and analysis. 
Over its history, the Program has used a variety of techniques to evaluate perceived impacts to aquatic systems, including base flow and storm event water quality sampling, aquatic biological community monitoring and assessment, and stream stability and habitat evaluation.  Data from this program will serve as a baseline in determining the County’s obligation for meeting TMDL limits.  Because of the long-term nature of this program, sufficient data have been collected to also interest researchers from the University of Maryland at College Park, as well as colleagues from other State and Federal agency programs that focus on surface water quality and habitat improvements as well as regulatory compliance (e.g., TMDLs).  Continued communication and data sharing is an essential component to the mission of fully assessing and protecting the County’s water resources.


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