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Small Patapsco watershed project part of Chesapeake Bay cleanup

By Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun, November 29, 2012

On good days, the Tiber Hudson tributary of the Patapsco is a pleasant part of the scenery in Historic Ellicott City as it flows through a stone channel by Tonge Row, beneath Tiber Alley alongside Main Street and past the B&O Railroad Museum before it spills into the river. It's a troubled waterway nonetheless, not considered able to support life, paved over in spots and surrounded by lots of asphalt.

The urban and suburban surroundings that drain into the Tiber Hudson — its "watershed" — will be inspected early in December by teams of consultants and volunteers as part of a continuing private, county and state effort to improve the streams and rivers that ultimately flow into the Chesapeake Bay. Focusing on areas some distance from its channel, the crew of about 15 will spend four days driving around, looking for possible pollution sources and ways to better protect the Tiber Hudson.

Technically, these two streams that converge in the historic district are the defining feature of a subwatershed, and not counted among Howard County's nine major Patapsco watersheds and not part of the Patuxent River system, a more prevalent part of the county's landscape. As a result, the Tiber Hudson can be overlooked, says Betsy McMillion, Stream Watch director and former executive director of Patapsco Heritage Greenway, a preservation group focused on the lower river valley.

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