Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2007 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Reflections on the Baltimore NURP Results, 25 Years Later
Fisher, Gary
Co-Authors: Gary T. Fisher, USGS William P. Stack, City of Baltimore Kenneth T. Belt, U.S. Forest Service
Abstract: Twenty-five years ago, the Nationwide Urban Runoff Program (NURP) was active in 28 localities in the United States. This program, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey and many local agencies, was historic in its extent and in its focus on urban nonpoint source water-quality concerns, including nutrients, metals, and organic contaminants. NURP provided basic data that were instrumental in setting water-quality goals and management policies that are still in effect today. The data have continued to guide follow-up studies that are needed to understand hydrologic and ecological processes in urban environments. Baltimore was one of the studied cities and included some of the oldest and most intensely developed watersheds. A retrospective gives an overview of the Baltimore study, reviews its results, provides a national context, and discusses how those results have been used in Baltimore to formulate current water-quality management programs and priorities. Those results have provided a baseline for ongoing studies of urban hydrology in the Baltimore region, most notably National Pollution Discharge Elimination System monitoring and the Baltimore Ecosystem Study Long-Term Ecological Research. Comparisons are made between NURP and the more recent monitoring data.