At a Glance

Water quality enhancement opportunities are identified through our innovative and community input based approach.

Project Description

Elevated levels of nitrite and nitrate, as well as wet weather spikes in fecal coliform bacteria, had been detected in a tributary that drains residential communities. In an effort to identify homeowner-related sources of the contamination, as well as opportunities to reduce impacts from uncontrolled runoff, Biohabitats is conducting a watershed assessment including both the stream corridor of a tributary to Winter’s Run that drains the Brentwood Park and Woodland Hills communities, and adjacent upland areas.

Biohabitats’ investigative approach focuses on analytical analyses of existing data, and rapid and diagnostic field reconnaissance investigations as opposed to performing additional water quality sampling. The diagnostic field investigations upland and within the stream corridor, coupled with a public outreach and education initiative, are aimed at identifying residential behaviors that are likely contributing to the watershed impacts. This rapid field diagnostic approach provides many advantages, including additional National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit compliance benefits, such as:

  • public education and outreach, public involvement, pollution prevention, and illicit discharge detection and elimination;
  • movement toward implementation of restoration measures that can be credited for NPDES permit requirements;
  • opportunity for an adaptive management approach that recognizes there is likely more than just one primary source;
  • cost effectiveness, compared to analytical monitoring; and
  • more focused and targeted water quality data collection if it is determined that analytical monitoring is desirable.


Chesapeake/Delaware Bays

Physiographic Province

Piedmont Plateau


Bush River

Expertise Areas

Ecological Restoration, Water


Harford County Department of Public Works


Harford County, Maryland, United States