Bringing a Historic Ecosystem Back From the Brink:
The Jones Falls Research Project at the University of Baltimore
The electrofishing team hard at work.
It's one of Baltimore's most important, historic urban waterways, and it flows right by the University of Baltimore campus. But the Jones Falls is ailing, and its health is critical on multiple levels:
- local: The Jones Falls is a unique green space for the city's citizens and a wildlife corridor in heavily urbanized central Baltimore; it's also the main tributary to the Inner Harbor, one of the city's main tourism attractions.
- regional: The Jones falls is a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, impacting the bay's greater watershed; this is especially important in light of a new approach to bay restoration that focuses on individual tributaries.
Restoring the Jones Falls will have a positive impact on so many people.
What UB is doing to contribute:
The Jones Falls Research Project is a comprehensive ecological assessment of the Lower Jones Falls. Since the project's inception in summer 2009, specific research projects have included:
- examining effects of sewage and contaminated stormwater leaks on water quality and stream life
- characterizing water quality in the Lower Jones Falls
- identifying contaminated sewer and stormwater outfalls
- characterizing and monitoring bacterial communities in the Jones Falls
- characterizing the parasitic community of Jones Falls fish
- comparing the biological communities of similarly sized streams in the Baltimore area to identify specific impacts on urban stream ecosystems.
Students at University of Baltimore have participated in the project through undergraduate research and classwork, and the Jones Falls serves as an excellent introduction to the real challenges of modern urban society. Students in UB's Environmental Sustainability and Human Ecology major can design and conduct their own studies on the Jones Falls.
Our goal: contribute to a healthier urban environment for the citizens of Baltimore.