Prettyboy Reservoir Habitat Restoration

Located in Carroll and Baltimore Counties, Maryland and York County, Pennsylvania, the Prettyboy Reservoir (named after an early settler’s horse) is a major water source for the Baltimore Metropolitan Area, supplying around 61% of the city’s drinking water. The streams that empty into the reservoir are impacted by land use, specifically agriculture and development, which decrease water quality by increasing pollution by nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment. These pollutants dramatically decrease the water’s quality for aquatic life and human consumption.

A major tributary to the Prettyboy Reservoir, the Upper Gunpowder Falls, is home to a reproducing population of Brook Trout, and in fact holds 25% of Maryland’s “brookies”. This native species is prized by anglers and ecologists and is very sensitive to pollution and increased water temperatures, which is endangering this important population. A coalition of citizens and professionals, the Upper Gunpowder Falls Brook Trout Conservation Partnership, has identified specific tributaries and properties that need the most attention, but currently has no resources to apply toward improved Brook Trout habitat.

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is working with the Partnership and many state, federal, and nongovernmental organizations to improve water quality for Brook Trout and, ultimately, drinking water quality. We are seeking funding to improve water quality in the Prettyboy Reservoir, with a focus on Brook Trout conservation in the Upper Gunpowder Falls and its tributaries. This funding will be used to leverage existing federal and state money to increase forest cover around streams and increase implementation of conservation practices that will improve water quality. It will also be used to replace culverts that fragment Brook Trout populations with those that will allow for aquatic organism passage, thus increasing the likelihood that “brookies” will be able to persist in the watershed.

* Project removes artificial barriers that restrict passage and/or natural flow of water for some period of the year

* Project utilizes best management practices to filter and/or reduce pollution inputs into rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands or near-shore marine areas


Baltimore Area, MD

Start Up Date:


Project Benefits:

Community Engagement & Education

Enhancing Recreation & Economic Benefits

Groundwater Conservation & Replenishment

Water Quality Improvement

Wildlife & Habitat Protection

Project Type:

Barrier and Impoundment Removal *

Pollution Reduction and Filtration *


Funding Needed