The Baltimore Sun in an article titled; Best Places to Kayak near Baltimore just named the Gunpowder River as a top paddling destination. After a lengthy, spirited conversation from a kayaker this morning who stated that;
I walked about the same distance that I floated last week!
I’d like to relate that PrettyBoy Reservoir is full folks. With that in mind, it might be helpful to look critically at the flows controlled by the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) in the last month compared with flows on the Gunpowder in the same time period over the past eleven years and review the good guidance found in the 2005 Reservoir Watershed Agreement that was signed by then Mayor (now Governor) Martin O’ Malley along with the Baltimore City Council, the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, the Secretary of the Maryland Dept. of the Environment and others that is currently being ignored. It states in part, under Program Goals:
1) The broadest and most fundamental goal of the Reservoir Program is to ensure that the three reservoirs and their respective watersheds will continue to serve as:
(a) Sources of high-quality raw water for the Baltimore metropolitan water-supply system; and
(b) Areas where the surface waters will continue to support existing environmental, wildlife-habitat, and aesthetic purposes, as well as beneficial recreational uses.
In the future, the author of the Sun article might consider checking with Baltimore City DPW before getting paddlers hopes up that they can indeed float the River without being forced to drag boats through vital fish spawning habitat this time of year. A world class wild trout fishery it is-and the City should be credited and thanked for their past stewardship of creating recreational opportunities for all user groups that frequent the Gunpowder River. Given the current River levels controlled by DPW, it is abundantly clear that the Gunpowder River simply cannot attain the status of a top paddling destination in Baltimore unless the criteria that needs to be met by recreational boaters is, “an opportunity to paddle gravel.”
The USGS Hydrograph shows that over the past month Gunpowder River streamflows controlled by Baltimore City DPW have been much lower than the 11 year median. The Gunpowder River did experience a significant spillover event after a heavy rainfall event towards the end of September as noted on the hydrograph. The triangles show median discharge over the past 11 years. The asterix denotes a measured discharge. The blue line is actual discharge (or flow) through the gauge at Falls Rd.