Overview and Outcomes

HarborAlert.org helps residents in Baltimore city better understand how their local water quality stacks up against State and Federal standards for ecological and human health. Working with Blue Water Baltimore  staff, our team initially launched Harbor Alert with one year of readings equating to over 1200 records of volunteer monitoring data for parameters that include nitrogen, phosphorus, and fecal coliform.

Having been a corner stone of Blue Water Baltimore's monitoring efforts for more than three years, the data set has grown to a total of more than 2,500 readings and supports the organization's efforts to supply the public with an annual Harbor Report Card.  Since the platform’s launch, Harbor Alert is now a central component of Blue Water Baltimore and the Waterfront Partnership’s Healthy Harbor Initiative. Under this work, Alice Volpita, Blue Water Baltimore's Water Quality Manager, routinely monitors the Tidal Patapsco, Jones Falls and Gwynns Falls watersheds to provide a constant pulse on the overall health of Baltimore’s major waterways.

The Ambient Water Quality Monitoring Program samples 22 locations on the Tidal Patapsco River biweekly between the beginning of April and the end of November each year, and also samples 27 locations on the Jones Falls and Gwynns Falls on a monthly basis year-round.  Monitoring activities include collection of whole-water samples for third-party laboratory analysis and collection of data readings using the latest field instrumentation technology. The data collected as a result of the Healthy Harbor Initiative is used to generate robust water-quality assessments for scenarios ranging from short-term pollution incidents to long-term multi-year trend analyses.

Photo courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay Program

Photo courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay Program


It is just the type of tool that Baltimore’s students and teachers can use in the classroom to learn about watershed science, water chemistry, and to observe ecological phenomena, such as algae blooms, in real-time.
— Adam Lindquist, Healthy Harbor Manager for the Waterfront Partnership

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