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Small Watershed Action Plans

Watershed Management Program
Phone: 410-887-5683
Fax: 410-887-4804

View the status of the SWAPs progress.
This map shows the delineations for the
Small Watershed Action Plans in Baltimore County.
This map can be downloaded and printed.

A Small Watershed Action Plan (SWAP) is both an assessment of current conditions and a strategy that outlines how we will clean up our streams and rivers to contribute healthier water to the Chesapeake Bay. SWAPs are created through partnerships between community members, local experts and Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS).

The SWAPs Will:

  • Assess existing conditions within the watershed
  • Identify potential sources of pollution sources
  • Examine and prioritize opportunities for environmental restoration and protection
  • Determine potential costs for implementation
  • Outline a plan, and set measurable goals for actions to reduce pollution

Who Participates in the SWAP Process?

Residents, businesses, institutions, community associations, local watershed or environmental organizations and government agencies are all necessary to build a successful plan. The process is guided by a diverse steering committee, with public meetings and comment periods to generate input from the greater community. Upon completion of the plan, there will be many opportunities for residents and community groups to help implement the recommended actions—in your own yard or on a site nearby.

What Actions Can We Take to Improve Our Streams?

  • Tree plantings in open areas, along streets and in yards
  • Expanding forested areas along streams (stream buffers)
  • Disconnection of downspouts to keep roof water out of storm drains
  • Plant rain gardens and hooking up rain barrels for watering
  • New or upgraded stormwater management facilities
  • Stream cleanups and stream restoration projects
  • Education and outreach on many issues related to water quality
    • Proper lawn care education (fertilizer reduction, watering techniques)
    • Community awareness about stormwater and pet waste disposal
    • Trash and litter awareness


The watersheds of the County have been divided into smaller portions to provide tailor-made plans and strategies for each SWAP. Each SWAP area has been assigned a letter identifier that corresponds to those shown on the map above. Here's a list of all SWAP areas organized by watershed:

Back River

  • Tidal Back River (E)
  • Upper Back River (L)

Baltimore Harbor

  • Baltimore Harbor (D)

Bird River

  • Bird River (K)

Deer Creek

  • Deer Creek (U)

Gunpowder River

  • Middle River–Tidal Gunpowder River (F)

Gwynns Falls

  • Middle Gwynns Falls (C)
  • Upper Gwynns Falls (V)

Jones Falls

  • Lower Jones Falls (H)
  • Northeastern Jones Falls (M)
  • Upper Jones Falls (G)

Liberty Reservoir

  • Liberty Reservoir (S)

Little Gunpowder Falls

  • Little Gunpowder Falls (P)

Loch Raven Reservoir

  • Beaverdam Run, Baisman Run and Oregon Branch (I)
  • Loch Raven East (R)
  • Loch Raven North (X)
  • Loch Raven West (W)
  • Loch Raven South (O)
    • Spring Branch (Portion of SWAP area O)

Lower Gunpowder Falls

  • Lower Gunpowder Falls—Rural (Q)
    Lower Gunpowder Falls—Urban (N)

Middle River

  • Middle River–Tidal Gunpowder River (F)

Patapsco River

  • Lower Patapsco River (A)
  • Upper Patapsco River (B)

Prettyboy Reservoir

  • Prettyboy Reservoir (T)

How Can I Get Involved?

To volunteer for SWAP activities, contact your local watershed association or the Watershed Management and Monitoring section of EPS.
Phone: 410-887-5683
Fax: 410-887-4804

Revised December 20, 2018         


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