Water Quality Monitoring

The Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources (OSER) conducts three (3) types of water quality monitoring activities throughout the year to fulfill MS4 Permit requirements. These monitoring projects evaluate and analyze the real-time chemical, physical, and biological aspects of a stream, as well as the overall watershed health following Maryland’s Biological Stream Survey (MBSS) protocols.  

Frederick County Stream SurveyWater Quality Sites 2018 Opens in new window

Frederick County has conducted a county-wide study of the health of its watersheds from 2008 to present. The study focuses on analyzing the stream health of different streams within a specific watershed. Each stream is inspected and scored for a variety of parameters including the presence of stream bug species, the quality of the physical habitat, the area of streamside forest buffer, the severity of stream bank erosion, and the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus in the streams based on a grab sample. Frederick County utilizes information gathered from these surveys to identify potential restoration opportunities in the County’s Watershed Assessments.  Those opportunities are ranked and the highest cost-effective restoration projects are moved into project implementation through our Watershed Restoration Capital Improvement Projects.

OSER is currently in their second year of the third round of county-wide stream surveys. Visit the Frederick County Stream Survey Page to view the interactive map, the Countywide Monitoring reports, and Round Monitoring fact sheets.

Restoration Monitoring

Funded restoration projects, who ranked the highest in priority, progress into project implementation through the County’s Capital Improvement Projects (CIP).  Those restoration projects which  require monitoring of restoration project goals will receive pre-restoration monitoring to capture existing conditions (typically a period of two (2) years), and comparing post-restoration data for five (5) years after project completion. Successful projects are rated based on whether their specific goals are achieved. These monitoring efforts assist the County in not only identifying when a project may need repairs but to also improve our overall future project designs. Based on the location and the proposed project, the project goals could be aimed at improving a variety of aspects starting with hydrology and moving up a hierarchal process to include: hydraulics, geomorphology, physiochemical, and/or biology. 

Concentrated Long-Term Monitoring Water Quality Instrument

In 1999, yearly water quality sampling was initiated in Urbana to establish a baseline, pre-existing conditions, and monitor development as it progressed. This yearly monitoring is conducted during storm events, and is a regulatory requirement directed by MDE. Until 2017, the existing conditions at Peter Pan Run were documented and evaluated during the development process in Urbana, at which point fifteen (15) stormwater management ponds were identified for a retrofit effort within the Peter Pan Drainage area in order to better treat stormwater runoff and improve stream health. Thereafter, the yearly water quality sampling assessed and monitored the impacts of a large scale restoration project on a watershed and compared the efficacy of BMP treatments. The 2017 Peter Pan Run Report is the last report that establishes pre-existing conditions and identifies the need for stormwater management retrofit efforts. The 2019 Peter Pan report is the most recent report since 2017 that contains the comparison data between pre- and post-retrofit impacts on watershed health. Both reports are linked in the table below. 

Collaborative Report with Pre-Existing Data from 1999-2017: Most Recent Peter Pan Run Report:
Peter Pan Monitoring Report: July 2016 - June 2017 Peter Pan Monitoring Report: July 2018 - June 2019