Lake Kittamaqundi

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Lake Kittamaqundi
Lake Kittamaqundi
Location of Lake Kittamaqundi in Maryland, USA.
Location of Lake Kittamaqundi in Maryland, USA.
Lake Kittamaqundi
Location of Lake Kittamaqundi in Maryland, USA.
Location of Lake Kittamaqundi in Maryland, USA.
Lake Kittamaqundi
LocationTown Center, Columbia, Maryland
Coordinates39°12′43″N 76°51′19″W / 39.21194°N 76.85528°W / 39.21194; -76.85528Coordinates: 39°12′43″N 76°51′19″W / 39.21194°N 76.85528°W / 39.21194; -76.85528
Primary inflowsUnnamed tributary of the Little Patuxent River
Basin countriesUnited States
Surface area27 acres (11 ha)
Max. depth7 ft (2.1 m)[1]
Surface elevation299 feet (91 m)[2]
IslandsNomanisan (1966-2011)

Lake Kittamaqundi is a man made 27-acre (110,000 m2) reservoir located in Columbia, Maryland in the vicinity of the Mall in Columbia as well as Merriweather Post Pavilion. It is also adjacent to offices and visible from US-29.[1]

The lake was created by The Rouse Company in 1966 during the development of Columbia. The company and its homeowners association claimed it was named after the first Indian settlement in Howard County and "Kittamaqundi" in the tribe's language translates to "meeting place."[1][3][4] Kittamaqundi actually was a 17th-century Piscataway village 40 miles (64 km) south that was named after its ruler, 'Kittamaquund'.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15] "Kittamaqundi" translates to "Great Beaver Place" or "Strong Bear".[16]

The area surrounding the lake is a popular location for various summer festivals and 4th of July fireworks.


Kittamaqundi is one of three man-made lakes created with the construction of the Columbia development. The lake served a dual purpose as a recreational feature and a low cost primary catch basin for water runoff from Wilde Lake into the Little Patuxent River. In 1973 Hittman Associates was contracted by the EPA to recommend the reuse of storm water runoff from Columbia's reservoir system for residential drinking water to save on development costs.[17][18]

One Kittamaqundi drowning in 1971 was ruled a suicide, with the recovery of the body inspiring the Stephen Amidon book The New City.[19][20] Another drowning occurred in 1972 from an overturned canoe.[21]

In 1977, a wooden flagpole structure built 10 years earlier displaying the American, State, and County flags was converted to a bell tower triggered every 15 minutes from Rouse headquarters. The tower was dismantled 2010 due to wood rot. The Columbia Association budgeted $75,000 in 2014 to rebuild the tower for the 50th anniversary of Columbia.[22]

In 1990 funding was sought for a pathway around the lake[23] though it wasn't completed until 2014.[24] Also in 1990, migrant geese were relocated and replaced with Trumpeter swans.[25] Groups of teens gathered at the lakefront at night causing crime and violence. Howard County policeman Herman Charity attributed the events to non-residents coming to take advantage of wealthier Columbia residents.[26] In 1996, police patrols were increased along the lake and adjoining neighborhoods.[27] In 1997, Canada goose droppings were costing the Columbia Association $20,000 a year in cleaning costs. A Border Collie and handler was hired for $17,000 a year to chase migrant geese from the lake.[28]

Lake Kittamaqundi originally featured an island known as Nomanisan Island, named by Columbia resident Alan Levine in a 1980 contest held by the Columbia Association. The island's name came from the phrase "No Man Is an Island" by John Donne.[29][30] The gap between the island and the east bank of the lake was filled, creating a peninsula, during the dredging of the lake in 2010.[31]

A $70,000 statue of Jim and Willard Rouse was commissioned by his son's company Rouse & Associates and displayed in front of the Symphony Woods Office Building. The statues were put into storage for two and a half years due to vandalism, then sold to the Columbia Association in 2000 for $10,000 and positioned along the lakefront in 2001.[32]


The Mall in Columbia and nearby offices, and buildings along Little Patuxent Parkway were developed with a minimum of stormwater management, and are directly in Kittamaqunidi's watershed. In 2008, a survey posted that 55,558 pounds (25,201 kg) per year of total suspended solids (TSS) and 250 pounds (110 kg) a year of phosphorus are collected in the lake. The recommendation was to have 6.3 million dollars in stormwater retention projects implemented to mitigate the development shortcomings for Lake Kittamaqundi alone.[33]

In the fall of 2010, dredging began in Lake Kittamaqundi. As sediment built up over the years since the lake's creation the depth of the lake was reduced. This dredging effort focused on restoring the lake to the original depths, reinforcing the banks, and creating two new peninsulas to enhance water flow. The dredging was completed in November 2011.[34]

In April 2014 a leaking diesel fuel holding tank at the Vantage House senior living facility filled the stormwater drains and deposited hundreds of gallons of diesel into Lake Kittamaqundi which had to be cleaned by Howard County Fire and Rescue.[35]

Fish species[edit]

A variety of fish species live in this lake including:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Lakes of Columbia". Archived from the original on June 5, 2008. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lake Kittamaqundi
  3. ^ "How streets were named and other interesting facts". Archived from the original on June 1, 2008. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  4. ^ The Howard County Historical Society. Howard County. p. 50.
  5. ^ Maryland: A History of Its People. Johns Hopkins University Press. 1986. p. 10. ISBN 9780801830051.
  6. ^ Jordan E. Kerber. Cross-cultural Collaboration: Native Peoples and Archaeology in the Northeastern United States. p. 115.
  7. ^ Paul Joseph Travers (1990). The Patapsco: Baltimore's River of History. Maryland Historical Society Tidewater Publishers. p. 20.
  8. ^ Sharon Malinowski. The Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes: Northeast, Southeast, Caribbean. p. 249.
  9. ^ Daniel S. Murphree. Native America: A State-by-state Historical Encyclopedia, Volume 1. p. 487.
  10. ^ Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, Volume 16. 1926. p. 308.
  11. ^ James Grant Wilson, John Fiske. Appleton's cyclopædia of American biography, Volume 1. p. 605.
  12. ^ Andrew White. Relatio itineris in Marylandiam, Issue. p. 63.
  13. ^ Barry C. Kent. Jacob My Friend: His 17th Century Account of the Susquehannock Indians. p. 472.
  14. ^ Baltz, Shirley Vlasak (1984). A Chronicle of Belair. Bowie, Maryland: Bowie Heritage Committee. pp. 4–7. LCCN 85165028.
  15. ^ Paula W. Wallace. Indians in Pennsylvania. p. 111.
  16. ^ Daniel Garrison Brinton. The Lenâpé and their legends; with the complete text and symbols. p. 27.
  17. ^ Office of Research and Monitoring, Environmental Protection Agency (January 1973). The Beneficial use of Stormwater.
  18. ^ Barbara Kellner. Columbia. p. 95.
  19. ^ Pekkanen, Sarah (February 29, 2000). "Utterly novel appearance for Columbia; Fiction: An adolescence spent in Maryland's well-known planned community inspires Stephen Amidon's fifth book, 'The New City.'". The Baltimore Sun.
  20. ^ "DEATH SPURS HEALTH PROBE". The Baltimore Sun. October 2, 1971.
  21. ^ "Youth drowns in Kittamaqundi". The Baltimore Sun. June 26, 1972. p. C10.
  22. ^ Luke Lavoie (October 30, 2014). "Columbia Association plans to bring back lakefront bells". The Baltimore Sun.
  23. ^ Coram, James M. (December 16, 1990). "Predictions Of Lean Times At Gloomy Budget Hearing Countians Present Shopping Lists Despite The News". The Baltimore Sun.
  24. ^ Lavoie, Luke (November 24, 2014). "New path around downtown Columbia lake opens". Columbia Flier. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  25. ^ Horgan, Daniel (January 7, 1990). "Turf Wars at Swan Lake". The Washington Post.
  26. ^ Mitchell, Joseph Rocco; Stebenne, David L. (2007). New City Upon a Hill: A History of Columbia Maryland. p. 119. ISBN 978-1596290679.
  27. ^ Kathryn Wexler (August 1, 1996). "Robberies Surge in Columbia: Police Step Up Undercover Patrols". The Washington Post.
  28. ^ Jennifer McMenamin (May 8, 1997). "War and Geese: In Battle Against Mess, Dog is Columbia's Best Friend". The Washington Post.
  29. ^ Tepe, Heather (May 26, 1999). "Lake Kittamaqundi is the in place in Columbia on a day in spring". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  30. ^ Columbia Archives. "Columbia Lakefront Walking Tour" (PDF). Columbia Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 17, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  31. ^ Broadwater, Jennifer (April 8, 2010). "The Dredge Report". Columbia Flier. Archived from the original on October 17, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2013. Beginning in June, a forebay will be added at Lake Kittamaqundi's north end by building peninsulas to connect to the existing "Nomanisan Island" there.
  32. ^ Vozzella, Laura (October 16, 2001). "Statues of James and Willard Rouse coming out of storage into the light". The Baltimore Sun.
  33. ^ "BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR SYMPHONY STREAM AND LAKE KITTAMAQUNDI WATERSHEDS" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 5, 2013. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
  34. ^ "Lake Dredging - Columbia Association" (Press release). Columbia Association. n.d. Archived from the original on October 1, 2011. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
  35. ^ Janney, Elizabeth (April 29, 2014). "Town Center to Address Lake Kittamaqundi Diesel Spill". Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  36. ^ "Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)". iNaturalist. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  37. ^ "Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus)". iNaturalist. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  38. ^ "Redear Sunfish (Lepomis microlophus)". iNaturalist. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  39. ^ Mitchell, Joseph Rocco; Stebenne, David L. (2007). New City Upon a Hill: A History of Columbia Maryland. p. 70. ISBN 978-1596290679.