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Liberty Reservoir Watershed

Watershed Management Program
Phone: 410-887-5683


This map shows the location of the Liberty Reservoir watershed.

The Liberty Reservoir watershed is located in western Baltimore County and eastern Carroll County. The North Branch of the Patapsco River is the primary tributary that feeds the reservoir. Nearly half of the Baltimore County portion of the watershed is forested with large forest blocks in the vicinity of the reservoir.

The 9,200-acre Liberty Reservoir tract is owned by the City of Baltimore and is managed to protect the reservoir. The area is open to hiking, rowing or paddle boating, bird watching, horseback riding and nature photography year-round, and for archery hunting during a regulated season. The reservoir is also managed for warm, cool, and cold water fish species and offers excellent fishing opportunities. Baltimore City owns the reservoir system and offers several recreational opportunities. Additional information is available on their Reservoirs web page.

The watershed is home to the Liberty Dam that was completed in 1954. Water from the reservoir flows by gravity through a 12.7-mile long, 10-foot diameter tunnel to the Ashburton Water Filtration Plant for treatment in Baltimore City.

The Liberty Reservoir watershed is also home to the community of Reisterstown and to the Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area comprised of 1,900 acres of serpentine barren—the largest serpentine barren in the state, and one of the largest on the east coast. Soldiers Delight also boasts over 39 rare, threatened, or endangered plant species as well as rare insects, rocks and minerals. A museum and interpretive trails are open to the public.

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.

A SWAP has been completed for the Liberty Reservoir watershed.

  • 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.

Volunteer Activities

To participate in volunteer activities contact a nearby watershed association. For information about volunteering with the Liberty Reservoir watershed, contact the Friends of Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway.

Revised October 25, 2019         


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