Back River (Maryland)

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Back River
CountryUnited States
Physical characteristics
 - locationRosedale
 - coordinates39°18′27″N 76°31′10″W / 39.3076074°N 76.519408°W / 39.3076074; -76.519408
MouthChesapeake Bay
 - locationEdgemere
 - coordinates39°14′37″N 76°24′01″W / 39.2437193°N 76.4002369°W / 39.2437193; -76.4002369Coordinates: 39°14′37″N 76°24′01″W / 39.2437193°N 76.4002369°W / 39.2437193; -76.4002369
 - elevation0 ft (0 m)
Length9 mi (14 km)
Basin size61 sq mi (160 km2)
Basin features
 - leftMoore's Run, Northeast Creek, Deep Creek
 - rightHerring Run, Bread and Cheese Creek

Back River is a tidal estuary in Baltimore County, Maryland, located about 2 miles (3 km) east of the city of Baltimore. The estuary extends from the community of Rosedale, southeast for about 8.8 miles (14.2 km)[1] to the Chesapeake Bay. The watershed area is 39,075 acres (15,813 ha) and includes Essex Skypark Airport and the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant.[2]

Water quality[edit]

Fishing on the Back River, near the sewage treatment plant, in 1973

Back River is in a highly urbanized area and is subject to extensive urban runoff and other forms of water pollution. The Maryland Department of the Environment has listed water quality impairments in the mainstem river for chlordane (a pesticide),[3] and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus).[2] The Herring Run tributary is listed as impaired due to high levels of bacteria.[4] The Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management (DEPRM) has classified Bread and Cheese Creek as having a “Very High Priority” for stormwater management actions, due to the large amount of trash and sediment found in it. The county recommends implementing a number of remedial activities to control urban runoff pollution, including "downspout disconnection, storm drain marking, buffer improvement, alley retrofit, street sweeping, tree planting and public education." [5]:81–90


The Back River watershed consists of 73 miles (117 km) of streams in Baltimore County and Baltimore City.[6]

  • Armistead Run
  • Biddison Run
  • Bread and Cheese Creek
  • Brien’s Run
  • Chinquapin Run
  • Deep Creek
  • Duck Creek
  • Herring Run
  • Moore’s Run
  • Northeast Creek
  • Redhouse Run
  • Stemmers Run
  • Tiffany Run

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-04-05 at WebCite, accessed April 1, 2011
  2. ^ a b Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). Baltimore, MD (2005). "Total Maximum Daily Loads of Nitrogen and Phosphorus for Back River in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Maryland."
  3. ^ MDE (1999). "Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Documentation for Chlordane in Back River."
  4. ^ MDE (2007). "Total Maximum Daily Loads of Fecal Bacteria for the Herring Run Basin in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Maryland." Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management (DEPRM), Towson, MD (2010). "Tidal Back River Small Watershed Action Plan." February 2010.
  6. ^ DEPRM. "Back River Watershed." 2010-06-03.

External links[edit]