Environmental Programs

Environmental Programs

At the heart of the Patapsco River Valley is a network of protected lands along the Patapsco River representative of Maryland’s Piedmont forest and industrial heritage. The Valley’s natural beauty and history combine to provide a unique opportunity for visitors to appreciate and enjoy Maryland’s most dramatic river valley.

The Patapsco Heritage Greenway rallies thousands of volunteers each year to clean up trash, remove invasive species, and plant trees in support of its mission to preserve and protect the natural resources of the valley.

Want to know if we have done a clean-up near you? Take a look at our environmental stewardship map below, or check out our pictures from events over the years, found here.

PHG Interactive Stewardship Map

Check out our interactive map, displaying up-to-date information on future events, trash removed from the Patapsco watershed, and invasive plant coverage! Click the arrows in the upper left to bring up the legend and toggle various graphics on the map. Feel free to search for your favorite locations in Patapsco to see how they relate to work by PHG volunteers!

Looking for a way to help?

Fill out a quick form to request a DIY Cleanup kit from PHG! These kits include the basics for hosting your own clean up event, by yourself or with friends and family. All you have to do is answer a few questions on the form below and we will let you know when your supplies are ready to be picked up!


Stream Watch Program

The Patapsco Heritage Greenway is recruiting volunteers for the Stream Watch Program for the Patapsco River Valley. Anyone who lives, works or recreates near the streams that flow into the Patapsco River can get involved and help, and there are many ways to do so.

Walk, Clean and Watch

All volunteers are allocated a section of the stream to regularly check in on by walking alongside it and observing any issues. These can include reporting the amount and type of trash removed and information on the health of the stream and stream bank (visible wildlife, erosion, trash, or other environmental concerns).

Volunteers can also take care of their section of the stream by removing the trash on a quarterly basis. Cleanups can be done individually or arranged for a group cleanup with other volunteers.

Volunteers choosing to be both cleaners and observers of their section of the stream are encouraged to relay any interesting points of information, including any damage, pollution, and/or potential restoration opportunities.

If you're interested, sign up today at link below. Volunteers are the backbone of PHG and we are always indebted to the work they do.

Become A Volunteer Today

Water Quality Monitors

Water Quality Monitors are volunteers that help collect data on the water quality of the Patapsco River within and around the Patapsco Valley Heritage Area.

Volunteers are trained on specific methods for collecting water quality information. There are opportunities to volunteer multiple weekdays per month at 11 different sites within the Patapsco Watershed.

Click HERE to view our Non-Tidal Patapsco River 2022 Report Card.

If you are interested in becoming a water quality monitor, contact Mandy at coordinator@patapsco.org.

Water Quality Watchers

Water Quality Watchers are volunteers that collect observational data about water sources that you consider in your own “backyard”. This can be on your property or where you go as a favorite spot in the Patapsco watershed. Volunteers are trained on specific methods of collecting observational data to look at stream health and overall water quality. These methods include taking the water temperature, pH, watercolor, and others.

Volunteers will be asked to check their dedicated “backyard” water source on a quarterly basis using the provided PHG WQW datasheet. Data can be collected individually or as a group and can be done in conjunction with a stream clean-up or Stream Watcher cleanup.

If you’re interested in becoming a Water Quality Watcher, contact Diana at environment@patapsco.org.

Water Quality (Watchers) Data Form

MM slash DD slash YYYY
Observations (Check all that apply)(Required)
Top 3 Macroinvertebrates Found

Salt Watch Program

Chlorides come from road salt or brine applied to our roadways, sidewalks and parking lots in the winter months– which later end up in our streams. While road salt keeps us safe on icy roads and sidewalks, it can also pose a threat to fish and other aquatic life in freshwater streams, as they cannot survive in extra salty water.

Salt Watch volunteers collect data about chloride levels in our local waterways with easy-to-use test strips, which are provided at no charge from our partner organization, the Izaak Walton League of America. Volunteers use these kits to determine the baseline chloride levels in local streams – before any winter road treatments. Then when the first winter storm hits, volunteers will take three more readings: one after the roads have been treated, one on the first warm day after the winter weather event, and finally one after a rain event following the winter weather event. The testing only takes a few minutes for each event, but provides important information about the extent of chloride pollution in area streams.

Click HERE to receive your FREE Salt Watch Kit and become a Salt Watch Volunteer!

If you are interested in more information about Salt Watch, contact Diana at environment@patapsco.org.

Environmental Forms

Use the form below to submit your Stream Watch reports, request a DIY Cleanup Kit, or to submit your Vernal Pool observations