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Bear Creek and Old Road Bay Watersheds

Watershed Management Program
Phone: 410-887-5683


This map show the location of the Baltimore Harbor watershed.

A portion of Baltimore County's watersheds are connected with the Baltimore Harbor Watershed system. The County's portion of the Baltimore Harbor watershed is located immediately east of Baltimore City and includes Bear Creek, Old Road Bay, Shallow Creek and other small tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay. It is largely comprised of highly urbanized land uses including large tracts occupied by heavy industry such as the shipyard and steel plant at Sparrows Point. Some parcels of open space exist, including parkland, agricultural and forested areas.

Dundalk, Eastpoint, Northpoint, Sparrows Point and Edgemere are among the communities located in this watershed. It is also home to the Dundalk campus of Baltimore Community College and is traversed by the Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge.

Many of the waterfront communities consist of residential and commercial development, which historically supported the heavy industry in the area. The waterfront includes numerous County waterfront parks such as Merritt Point, Bear Creek and Fort Howard Parks that offer public boat ramps, fishing piers and picnic areas. There are also several private marinas, clubs and restaurants. Northpoint State Park, located in Edgemere, also offers many recreational opportunities such as beach wading, tidal fishing, flat-water paddling, birding, biking or hiking on one of several trails including the historic Defenders Trail used during the War of 1812.

Over the years, Baltimore County has completed numerous shoreline stabilization projects including those at Merritt Point Park, Bear Creek Park and elementary school, Battle Grove Park, and Inverness Park. In addition, the County has undertaken many water quality retrofit and waterway dredging projects to improve water quality and recreational boating access.

Small Watershed Action Plan

A small watershed action plan (SWAP) identifies strategies to bring a small watershed into compliance with water quality criteria. Strategies go beyond traditional government capital projects and include actions in partnership with local watershed associations, citizen awareness campaigns and volunteer activities. Read below a fact sheet about small watershed action plans.

  • SWAP fact sheet (PDF) describes strategies and actions that could become part of the SWAP report
  • SWAP Volume 1 (PDF) outlines the actions identified as part of the strategy
  • SWAP Volume 2 (PDF) contains the results of the field and GIS data assessments

Watershed Management Plan

Baltimore County completed a Watershed Management Plan for the County's portion of the Baltimore Harbor Watershed in October, 2000. The executive summary (PDF) provides information about the current and expected pollutant loads from surface runoff. A description of best management practices (BMP) and their associated pollution reductions along with a cost-benefit review is also include.


To participate in volunteer activities contact a nearby watershed association. For this watershed, contact the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation.

Revised June 15, 2015

Revised October 15, 2018         


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