Baltimore Ecosystem Study
Contributions from the U.S. Geological Survey to Long-Term Ecological Research in the urban environment
- Water-resources investigations
- Streamflow data
- Groundwater data
- Weather and climate
- Other resources (not from BES or USGS)
- USGS numbered interpretive reports
- USGS water-data reports
- Peer-reviewed journals
- Proceedings of scientific meetings
- Presentations at scientific meetings
The U.S. Geological Survey is a participant in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES), an urban Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Project, which is a collaboration of federal, state, local, non-profit, and academic research sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
BES scientists conduct many investigations of the urban ecosystem, but all address one or more of three central questions. Studies by USGS address two of these questions:
"What are the fluxes of energy and matter in urban ecosystems, and how do they change over the long term?"
"How does the spatial structure of ecological, physical, and socio-economic factors in the metropolis affect ecosystem function?"
Hydrologic investigations are led and conducted by a team of Principal Investigators and Collaborators, including Mike Koterba, Ed Doheny, and Gary Fisher of USGS, Larry Band of the University of North Carolina, Ken Belt of the U.S. Forest Service, Andy Miller and Claire Welty of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Jim Smith of Princeton University. Other BES investigators collaborate on various projects that integrate closely with their own disciplines.
USGS operates a basic network of hydrologic data-collection stations in collaboration with BES. Analysis of data from these stations provides fundamental information used by any BES researchers. USGS is working with other investigators and potential collaborators to support and develop scientific investigations, including topics in meteorology, streamflow, ground water, water quality, toxic substances, and sediment. USGS is investigating alternative techniques to measure peak streamflow in urban drainage systems, which are quite unlike natural drainage systems. A promising and important area for research that USGS and the UMBC Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education (CUERE) are pursuing is in urban ground water, where even the fundamental relationships between urban water-resources infrastructure, ground-water flow, and urban stream baseflow are not known.
An excellent overview of BES is in the Fall 1999 issue of Maryland Marine Notes.
The Gwynns Falls Watershed is the primary focus for BES activities. Following is a summary of available water-resources Data and related information.
The Gwynns Falls Watershed is a part of the Gunpowder-Patapsco Hydrologic Unit. General information on the Hydrologic Unit is available from the EPA Surf Your Watershed and from USGS Science in Your Watershed. It is included by the Maryland Chesapeake Bay Tributary Team in the Patapsco/Back River unit.
Streamflow and water-quality Data are routinely collected by BES participants at continuous USGS stream-gaging stations. USGS stream-gaging stations are operated in cooperation with local, state, and federal agencies, including financial support.
|Click on any of the stations listed below to view a station
There are four longitudinal stations along the Gwynns Falls:
- Gwynns Falls at Glyndon, Md. (also a small watershed station)
- Gwynns Falls near Delight, Md.
- Gwynns Falls at Villanova, Md.
- Gwynns Falls at Washington Blvd. at Baltimore, Md.
Investigations are being conducted at four small watershed stations:
- Pond Branch at Oregon Ridge, Md.
- Gwynns Falls at Glyndon, Md. (also a longitudinal station)
- Gwynns Falls tributary at McDonogh, Md.
- Rognel Heights Storm Sewer Outfall at Baltimore, Md.
Other stations where BES data are being collected:
- Baisman Run at Broadmoor, Md.
- Dead Run at Franklintown, Md.
- Scotts Level Branch at Rockdale, Md.
- Powder Mill Run at Lochearn, Md.
BES data have also been collected at the following inactive USGS stations. These are not shown on the above map.
- Scotts Level Branch at Villanova, Md. (01589295)
- Gwynns Falls at U.S. Rt. 1 at Baltimore, Md. (01589350)
Discontinued USGS stations in the Gwynns Falls Watershed include the following. These are not shown on the above map.
- Gwynns Falls near Owings Mills, Md.
Continuous record 1958-1975
- Gwynns Falls at Owings Mills, Md.
Peak flow record only 1958-1965, 1967-1968
- Gwynns Falls at McDonogh, Md
Peak flow record 1958-1968, 1971-1984
Data collected by USGS at these and other historical stations are available from the National Water Information System (NWIS) and the Instantaneous Data Archive (IDA). Daily data and statistics are generally posted once per year after they are reviewed and validated for each Water Year (October 1 to September 30). Instantaneous-values data (5 or 15-minute discrete record) are not available through NWIS but approved data can be obtained from IDA. Provisional data, those that have not been fully evaluated for approval and public release, can be obtained for the last 31 days at real-time stations through NWIS. Requests for any other data should be made directly to USGS.
USGS operates many other stream-gaging stations in the Baltimore area that may provide data for investigations of urban hydrology.
An inventory for Gwynns Falls and vicinity was prepared by USGS of existing wells and geotechnical data from the USGS NWIS, the Maryland Well-Permiting System, and bridge plans obtained from the Maryland State Highway Administration, Baltimore City, and Baltimore County.
The inventory, which was conducted in 2001 and 2002, compiled data for 1,683 wells from NWIS, 1,154 wells from permits, and 212 bridge construction borings. The following figures were prepared by Mike Maguire of CUERE and show the distibution of existing well data.
Contact USGS or CUERE for data and full-resolution images.
Weather and Climate
Other Resources (not from BES or USGS)
- Current weather (US)
- Automated Flood Warning System (rainfall to 0.04 in.) [ Baltimore City | Baltimore County ]
- Climate (general)
References before the inception of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study in 1997 are listed only if they have particular relevance to urban hydrology in the study area.
USGS Numbered Interpretive Reports
- Katz, B.G., and Fisher, G.T., 1982
- Analysis and characterization of urban storm-water runoff from selected basins in the Baltimore, Maryland, metropolitan area - project plan: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 82-1200, 53 p.
- Fisher, G.T. and Katz, B.G., 1984
- Analysis of urban storm-water runoff characteristics of four basins in the Baltimore metropolitan area, Maryland: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 84-4099, 51 p.
- Fisher, G.T., and Katz, B.G., 1988
- Urban storm-water runoff -- selected background information and techniques for problem assessment, with a Baltimore, Maryland, case study: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2347, 30 p.
- Doheny, E.J., 1999
- Index of hydrologic characteristics and data resources for the Gwynns Falls watershed, Baltimore County and Baltimore City, Maryland: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-213, 17 p.
- Ries, K.G., 2006
- Selected streamflow statistics for streamgaging stations in northeastern Maryland, 2006: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OFR-2006-1335, 16 p.
- Doheny, E.J., Starsoneck, R.J., Striz, E.A., and Mayer, P.M., 2006
- Watershed Characteristics and pre-restoration surface-water hydrology of Minebank Run, Baltimore County, Maryland, Water Years 2002-04: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report SIR-2006-5179, 42 p.
- Doheny, E.J., and Fisher, G.T., 2006
- Hydraulic geometry characteristics of continuous-record stream-gaging stations on four urban watersheds along the main stem of Gwynns Falls, Baltimore County and Baltimore City, Maryland: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report SIR-2006-5190, 34 p.
- Doheny, E.J., Starsoneck, R.J., Mayer, P.M., and Striz, E.A., 2007
- Pre-restoration geomorphic charcateristics of Minebank Run, Baltimore County, Maryland, 2002-04: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report SIR-2007-5127, 64 p.
USGS Water-Data Reports
Listing of reports that contain data collected since the inception of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study in 1997. All published USGS hydrologic data are available at http://nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov.
- James, R.W., Jr., Saffer, R.W., and Tallman, A.J., 1999
- Water Resources Data, Maryland and Delaware, Water Year 1998, Volume 1. Surface-Water Data: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Data Report WDR-MD-98-1, 362 p.
- James, R.W., Jr., Saffer, R.W., and Tallman, A.J., 2000
- Water Resources Data, Maryland and Delaware, Water Year 1999, Volume 1. Surface-Water Data: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Data Report WDR-MD-99-1, 407 p.
- James, R.W., Jr., Saffer, R.W., and Tallman, A.J., 2001
- Water Resources Data, Maryland and Delaware, Water Year 2000, Volume 1. Surface-Water Data: U.S. Geological Survey Water Data Report WDR-MD-00-1, 407 p.
- James, R.W., Jr., Saffer, R.W., Pentz, R.H., and Tallman, A.J., 2002
- Water Resources Data, Maryland and Delaware, Water Year 2001, Volume 1. Surface-Water Data: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Data Report WDR-MD-01-1, 449 p.
- James, R.W., Jr., Saffer, R.W., Pentz, R.H., and Tallman, A.J., 2003
- Water Resources Data, Maryland and Delaware, Water Year 2002, Volume 1. Surface-Water Data: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Data Report WDR-MD-02-1, 485 p.
- James, R.W., Jr., Saffer, R.W., Pentz, R.H., and Tallman, A.J., 2004
- Water Resources Data, Maryland and Delaware, Water Year 2003, Volume 1. Surface-Water Data: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Data Report WDR-MD-03-1, 522 p.
- Saffer, R.W., Pentz, R.H., and Tallman, A.J., 2005
- Water Resources Data, Maryland and Delaware, Water Year 2004, Volume 1. Surface-Water Data: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Data Report WDR-MD-04-1, 540 p.
- Saffer, R.W., Pentz, R.H., and Tallman, A.J., 2006
- Water Resources Data, Maryland and Delaware, Water Year 2005, Volume 1. Surface-Water Data: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Data Report WDR-MD-05-1, 530 p.
- U.S. Geological Survey, 2007
- Water Resources Data, United States, Water Year 2006: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Data Report WDR-US-2006
- Groffman, P.M., Law, N.L., Belt, K.T., Band, L.E., and Fisher, G.T., 2004
- Nitrogen fluxes and retention in urban watershed ecosystems: Ecosystems, v. 7, p. 393-403.
- Kaushal, S.S., Groffman, P.M., Likens, G.E., Belt, K.T., Stack, W.P., Kelly, V.R., Band, L.E., and Fisher, G.T., 2005
- Increased salinization of fresh water in the northeastern United States: PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America), v. 102, p. 13517-13520.
Proceedings of Scientific Meetings
- Fisher, G.T., and Katz, B.G., 1982
- Guidelines for instrumenting and operating a surface runoff study - the Baltimore experience: American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Paper NAR82-209, 29 p.
- Katz, B.K. and Fisher, G.T., 1983
- A comparison of selected methods for measuring flow rate in a circular storm sewer: International Symposium on Urban Hydrology, Hydraulics, and Sediment Control, Lexington, Kentucky, 1983, Proceedings, p. 359-369.
- Heisler, G.M., Groffman, P.M., Band, L.E., Belt, K.T., Fabiyi, V., Fisher, G.T., Grant, R.H., and Grimmond, S., 2000.
- A reference meteorological station for urban long-term ecological research, Baltimore Ecosystem Study. In: Third Urban Environment Symposium. Davis, CA. 14-18 Aug 2000. American Meteorological Society, Boston. p. 189-90.
- Morlock, S.E., and Fisher, G.T., 2002
- Hydroacoustic current meters for the measurement of discharge in shallow rivers and streams: Hydraulic Measurements and Experimental Methods, Proceedings, American Society of Civil Engineers, Estes Park, Colorado, http://www.pubs.asce.org/BOOKdisplay.cgi?9991526
- Fisher, G.T. and Morlock, S.E., 2002
- Discharge measurements in shallow urban streams using a hydroacoustic current meter: Hydraulic Measurements and Experimental Methods, Proceedings, American Society of Civil Engineers, Estes Park, Colorado, http://www.pubs.asce.org/BOOKdisplay.cgi?9991526
Presentations at Scientific Meetings
- Fisher, G.T., and Stack, W.P., 2001
- Evaluation of stream impacts from leaking infrastructure in the lower Gwynns Falls watershed: Maryland Water Monitoring Council Annual Conference Abstracts, Linthicum, Maryland, http://www.mgs.md.gov/mwmc/pub/mwmcprog01.pdf
- Fisher, G.T., and Belt, K.T., 2002
- Evaluation of indicators of sewage contamination in urban- impacted streams: Maryland Water Monitoring Council Annual Conference Abstracts, Linthicum, Maryland, http://www.mgs.md.gov/mwmc/conf/abs02.html
- Smith, J.A., Baeck, M.L., Fulton, R.A., Fisher, G.T., and Miller, A.J., 2002
- Hydrometeorological analysis of flash floods in the Baltimore metropolitan region: Eos, Transactions AGU, v. 83, no. 47, H62A- 0836.
- Fisher, G.T., 2003
- Tidal hydrodynamics near a constructed wetland at Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland: Sontek/YSI International Water Resources Users Conference, Henderson, Nevada, October 2-4, 2003
- Fisher, G.T., Stack, W.P., and Belt, K.T., 2006
- Reflections on the Baltimore NURP results, 25 years later: American Water Resources Association Annual Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, November 6-9, 2006