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Environmental Protection and Sustainability
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Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV)

Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) grows in shallow water areas and includes over a dozen different species.  Baltimore County collects SAV data for all creeks where the County maintains a navigation channel.  The County has collected SAV data since 1989, analyzing and mapping growth trends.  SAV is considered a key indicator of water quality and the general health of a waterway.

Image of submerged aquatic vegetation.
Many of Baltimore County creeks have an
abundance of submerged aquatic
vegetation.

Importance of SAV

SAV provide numerous environmental benefits including:

  • Food and habitat for birds, fish, crabs and other aquatic species
  • Water quality and clarity improvements through filtering pollutants and uptake of nutrients
  • Shoreline protection by dissipating wave energy and preventing erosion

SAV Program Highlights

  • SAV has increased in County waterways in terms of presence, density and species diversity
  • SAV data collection and monitoring in 30 County waterways
  • SAV maps documenting growth trends for over 20 years
  • Baltimore County has the most extensive SAV program in Maryland
  • Baltimore County SAV data is included in the annual report Distribution of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Bays
Image of aquatic vegetation being sampled.
Submerged aquatic vegetation is
sampled yearly.

Contact Information
Capital Programs and Operations
Phone: 410-887-2904
Fax: 410-887-4804
E-mail: watersheds@baltimorecountymd.gov

Revised August 19, 2011

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