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Help! Looking for Maryland Streams to Conduct Bacteria Testing

Kilgore FallsKnow of any local swimming holes? Or local streams where people wade, fish, or just cool their heels on a hot summer day? We're looking for sites to conduct water tests this coming summer in Frederick, Howard, Harford, and Baltimore Counties (potentially Carroll County, too) as well as Baltimore City. And we'd love to get your ideas for the best sites to sample!

We are focusing on freshwater streams, rivers, and ponds in those areas where people recreate. If you know of a place where there's a tire swing, or where kids regularly look for salamanders or frogs, or just dip their toes, please e-mail CBF's Tom Zolper at

We are particularly interested in sites that perhaps only locals know about. These sites aren't public beaches, just treasured local places to enjoy a freshwater stream or river. A site might even be a small stream running through a neighborhood. We want places that people appreciate—if only for their gurgling reminder of nature in the middle of suburbia.

We are testing for the impact of polluted runoff on local streams and ponds. Polluted runoff is rain that becomes contaminated by dog poop, farm manure, weed killer, or other pollution as it runs off the landscape. In our debut testing program last summer we found some sites had bacteria levels as much as 200 times higher that of safety limits set by the federal government. One popular swimming hole had dangerous bacteria levels even two days after a heavy summer downpour—yet people were still swimming!

Testing at Kilgore FallsThis summer we want to dig a little deeper into this problem, to alert the public, and local governments when appropriate. But we need your help finding test sites. The results will mean more to the public if we test water spots used for recreation.

If you are interested in volunteering to help us take water samples, let us know that, too. We want to test within 24 hours of when big rainstorms happen, so your schedule has to be a little flexible. We will provide training and materials.

Again, please e-mail if you have interest in any of the above. Thanks in advance for your help!

—Tom Zolper
CBF's Assistant Director of Media Relations



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