Jones Falls Stream Walk 3/15

On March 15, 2014 The Maryland Chapter of Trout Unlimited (MDTU) will conduct a stream walk of the upper Jones Falls and its tributaries. While enjoying the last weekend of winter and anticipating the arrival of spring, MDTU volunteers will walk an assigned section of the watershed. During a 1 to 2 hour walk along the stream, volunteers will collect observations that will be valuable in determining the status and the overall health of the stream. This stream is of particular interest to MDTU because while being only minutes from downtown Baltimore, it is the home to one of the best wild brown trout populations in Maryland.

The Jones Falls is a wild trout stream just north of Baltimore City. The stream flows through Green Spring Valley before entering Lake Roland. Upon leaving Lake Roland it then flows south into Baltimore City to the Inner Harbor. The area above Lake Roland in the Green Spring Valley contains a healthy population of wild brown trout. The cold fertile springs of the Green Spring Valley provide enough cold water to keep the conditions ideal for trout for miles above Lake Roland. The Jones Falls is a productive but challenging fishery. There is good fishing even where it flows under the Baltimore Beltway. However its brown trout are wary and at times reclusive.

In an on-going effort to monitor and protect the Jones Falls, MDTU maintains a focus on the watershed. In cooperation with local landowners, MDTU conducts an annual watershed walk. This year on Saturday, March 15th, MDTU volunteers will meet the parking lot at Baltimore County’s Meadowwood Park on Falls Road at 9:00am. The group of volunteers will be organized in teams of two. Each team will be assigned a section of the Jones Falls watershed or one of its tributaries. The teams will be made aware of any land owners that have not agreed to let MDTU volunteers on their property. The teams will be instructed to walk and collect observations relating to the stream’s condition, appearance, and overall health. Survey forms will be provided as well as a brief training on what to look for in and around the stream.

The stream walk will take about two hours. Upon completion, we will meet again at Medowwood Park for lunch provided by MDTU. While the Jones Falls is in good health, the evidence being its thriving wild brown trout population, its location causes it to be subject to ongoing threats inherent to a stream so close to a large metropolitan area. The Jones Falls being only minutes from over a million residents in the Baltimore area is continually threatened by pollution, development, poor farming practices, invasive species and list of other potential problems.

MDTU’s efforts to monitor and protect the Jones Falls will continue. A wild trout resource so close to a major east coast city is certainly unique and worth preserving. To ensure this stream and its wild trout are around for future generations will be a challenge. Unless an awareness and appreciation of the Jones Falls continues, the stream and its trout will be neglected. The threats to Jones Fall’s health will go unchecked. The stream’s fragile ecosystem will rapidly degrade and the trout will eventually perish. Without a persistent and focused effort such as MDTU’s, this dismal truth could be realized in just a few years.

If you would like to participate in this year’s stream walk, please contact Tom Starrs at 703-297-7407 or email: