At a Glance

Baseline stream monitoring and watershed assessment, combined with stormwater retrofit opportunities, community outreach and restoration recommendations are setting the stage for improving water quality, flow conditions and biological life along Sam’s Branch tributary in the Otter Creek watershed.

Project Description

Biohabitats is providing watershed assessment and stream monitoring services to establish baseline conditions in this predominantly residential drainage area. The goal of the project is to identify problems and pollution sources and recommend upland and stream corridor restoration opportunities.

The project involves an upland assessment, the development of conceptual recommendations for stormwater retrofit and BMPs and surveys of physical/geomorphic condition, riparian condition, water quality and quantity, and instream biological condition. Because restoration opportunities will likely involve public education, Biohabitats is also preparing, conducting and evaluating a community survey to determine citizen’s: behaviors affecting their watershed; awareness of their watershed and its conditions; and willingness to change behaviors that negatively impact their watershed.

Baseline monitoring efforts include stage/discharge, temperature, stream cross sections, profiles, channel stability and habitat survey, fisheries and benthic macroinvertebrate data, tributary baseflow and storm event water quantity and quality sampling and all relevant analyses of the data. A suite of upland assessments includes windshield surveys of drainage area to characterize homeowner practices related to lawn care, pet waste management, and household and automotive waste handling. In addition, this effort will identify simple and cost effective stormwater retrofit opportunities including source reduction such as downspout disconnection, tree planting opportunities, and impervious cover reduction.

The data collected during this assessment and monitoring will not only support problem identification and recommendations for improvements, but will also provide a pre-implementation database to be compared with post-implementation database documenting water quality, quantity and biological improvements along Sam’s Branch.



Chesapeake/Delaware Bays

Physiographic Province

Coastal Plain


Bush River

Expertise Areas

Conservation, Infrastructure, Urban Ecology, Water


Harford County Department of Public Works


Harford County, Maryland, United States