Monitoring Our Water Quality

Sometimes doing a bit of research for one thing ends up leading in a different direction in searching for causes. In that process, I discovered some interesting useful resources to share.

First, do you know your watershed? Here is a map from the Bureau of Resource Management followed by a link to the  actual page where you can click on each named watershed for in depth information:

Our Carroll County Watersheds

Clickable map

(For more specific: Map with road names)

I find that my own watershed is Double Pipe Creek.

Watershed Quality Assessment Reports reveal some interesting information. Here is a map of streams in Carroll. Red indicates problems.  Yellow is a warning. Green are in good shape so far.

Mapping stream health

Some of our problem streams are Cranberry (along Lucabaugh Mill Rd), Piney Run and Morgan Run. In worst condition is Dickenson Run-5 Daughters.  The healthiest streams in Carroll are Middle Run and Little Morgan Run.

This next map shows in color, the health of watershed basins of which the streams are part (the pink means not good, yellow warning, green OK):

Watershed Basin Health

From this, we can see that the worst water quality is on the west side of the county. Liberty Reservoir area is in best condition, but a great deal of the county is in warning mode. The purple denote “stronghold watersheds” which are where threatened, rare or endangered species have highest numbers and should therefore be protected.

 Next  is a map which shows where samplings were taken:

Stream wader samplings

These samplings are enhanced by volunteer Stream Waders, volunteers who take samples of water and collect aquatic invertebrates in March and April to monitor stream health. You too can volunteer and provide information to both the public and various agencies through this activity.

Citizen Science: Become a Volunteer Stream Wader


Reports indicate that our main issues seem to be runoff of phosphorus and nitrogen from impervious surface runoff and from fertilizers from lawns or farms causing algal bloom and sediment from stream breakdown.