Watershed Overview

The Gunpowder River is an important resource for the state of Maryland. The river and its reservoirs, Prettyboy and Loch Raven, provide the primary source of Baltimore City’s drinking water and supply over 1.5 million area residents. In addition, the river is also a nationally recognized tail-water trout fishery and an important tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.

The Gunpowder River is 53 miles long and its watershed is located within parts of York County, PA, and Carroll, Harford and Baltimore Counties, in MD. The Gunpowder Watershed encompasses over 450 square miles, containing over 217 miles of streams. The river is formed by the joining of Big Gunpowder Falls and Little Gunpowder Falls and flows through Maryland’s largest state park. Gunpowder State Park is a popular destination for fishing, birding, picnicking, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

The Bush River watershed is approximately 117 square miles in size and is a tidal estuary to the Chesapeake Bay. It contains more than 520 miles of streams that flow through a wide variety of land uses that vary between urban, agriculture, forest and wetlands. A large portion of the watershed is located within the County’s residential and industrial development envelope. Two major tributaries, Winters Run and Bynum Run currently deliver large amounts of sediment, nutrients and bacteria to the Bush River.

The health of the each of these rivers waters directly impacts the submerged aquatic vegetation that host the Bay’s blue crab, perch, shad, rockfish and waterfowl populations. The cold, clean water that supports wild trout and insects in the upper watershed also benefits and protects Bay habitat in the lower watershed.

The waters of the Chesapeake Bay are known for their healthy population of blue crabs. GRK is committed to protecting the health of the Gunpowder River as an important tributary to the Bay’s waters.

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