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Prettyboy Reservoir Watershed

Watershed Management Program
Phone: 410-887-5683


An image of The Prettyboy Reservoir, located in the northwest corner of Baltimore County.
The Prettyboy Reservoir watershed
is located in the northwest corner
of Baltimore County.

The Prettyboy Reservoir watershed is the second largest and the most remote of the three area reservoir watersheds. Located in the northwest corner of Baltimore County, Prettyboy Reservoir watershed extends about seven miles from east to west and about 10 miles from north to south. The drainage area extends from the southern reaches of York County, Pennsylvania and the northeastern corner of Carroll County, Maryland into the northwestern corner of Baltimore County where it drains into the Prettyboy Reservoir. The municipalities of Hampstead and Manchester make up the western edge of the watershed. Of Maryland’s portion of the Prettyboy Reservoir watershed, about 24,000 acres or 55 percent is located in Baltimore County. The watershed comprises 6.3 percent of the land area of the County.

It is a largely rural watershed with half of the land within Baltimore County’s portion actively being used for agriculture. Most of that land is planted in crops—predominantly corn, soybeans and wheat—the remaining in pasture. Horse farms are becoming more prevalent within this watershed and throughout Baltimore County. Half of the watershed is in low-density rural residential land use. Baltimore City owns the reservoir system and offers several recreational opportunities. A Boating and Fishing Guide is available for order from Baltimore City. Call Reservoir Natural Resources at 410-795-6150 for more information.

Watershed Restoration Action Strategy

Photgraph of the Prettyboy Reservior dam, located on the Gunpowder River.
The Prettyboy Reservoir dam is
located on the gunpowder river.

The development of the Prettyboy Watershed Restoration Action Strategy (WRAS) is a collaborative effort between Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability; the Prettyboy Watershed Alliance; Maryland Department of Natural Resources; Baltimore City Reservoir Natural Resources Office; Carroll County Department of Planning; Baltimore, Carroll and York County Soil Conservation Districts.


The following reports contain resource information about the Prettyboy Reservoir Watershed.

Volume 1

  • Prettyboy WRAS (PDF): This is the strategy plan that details the goals for the watershed and the strategies for reaching them.

Volume 2

Photo of the Prettyboy Reservoir watershed witha rural landscape in Baltimore County.
Prettyboy Reservoir watershed
has a rural landscape in
Baltimore County.
  • Watershed Characterization (PDF): This report provides traditional details on the land cover and monitoring results for the watershed.
  • Stream Corridor Assessment, Baltimore County (PDF): This is a summary of the stream characteristics and adjacent buffer condition along the streams within Baltimore County's jurisdiction.
  • Stream Corridor Assessment, Carroll County (PDF): This is a summary of the stream characteristics and adjacent buffer condition along the streams within Carroll County's jurisdiction.
  • Stream Stability Assessment (PDF): This report provides detailed geomorphic measurements of the streams in Compass Run and Frog Hollow Run to determine the physical stability of the stream channels and identify degraded sections in need of restoration.
  • Nutrient Synoptic Survey (PDF): This report summarizes nitrogen, phosphorous and other chemical parameters that were sampled throughout the Prettyboy watershed.
  • MD Biological Stream Survey (PDF): This assessment sampled fish and aquatic insects which can be very accurate indicators of the health of a stream.


Select from the following list to view maps of the Prettyboy watershed.


To participate in watershed activities contact your local watershed association. To participate in Prettyboy Reservoir watershed activities contact the Prettyboy Watershed Alliance at 410-239-0640.

Revised September 20, 2019         


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