This program offers several levels of involvement and invites citizens to "adopt" a section of stream within the 58-square mile watershed. The volunteers will visit their segment at least four times during the year. "It is our hope that the volunteers will become familiar with their section of the stream and be able to report changes in conditions that might otherwise go unnoticed for lengthy periods of time," said Ellen Schmitt, coordinator for the new program. Volunteers should expect to spend two to four hours in training and be willing to commit 16 or more hours during the year to review their stream section. Volunteers are also encouraged to clean trash from the streams during their visits.
A grant from Baltimore County to Center for Watershed Protection and Jones Falls Watershed Association provides the funding for the 24-month program, which began with researching stream monitoring programs from other areas around the country. The Association is now recruiting volunteers for the program and will publish a synopsis of successes and implementation procedures for other organizations. Though county funded, the program will offer opportunities to adopt streams in Baltimore City's sections of the watershed as well as the county.
The Jones Falls Watershed Association is a volunteer-driven grassroots organization started in 1997 to protect and restore the Jones Falls and its tributaries, which drain a 58-square-mile watershed including both Baltimore City and Baltimore County.