Link to USGS home page.
MD-DE-DC Water Science Center


Scientific Investigation Report 2006-5179

Watershed Characteristics and Pre-Restoration Surface-Water Hydrology of Minebank Run, Baltimore County, Maryland, Water Years 200204

By Edward J. Doheny1, Roger J. Starsoneck2, Elise A. Striz3, and Paul M. Mayer3

1 U.S. Geological Survey, Baltimore, Maryland
2 Formerly of U.S. Geological Survey, Baltimore, Maryland
3 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Ada, Oklahoma

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Cover of Sir-2006-5179


Stream restoration efforts have been ongoing in Maryland since the early 1990s. Physical stream restoration often involves replacement of lost sediments to elevate degraded streambeds, re-establishment of riffle-pool sequences along the channel profile, planting vegetation in riparian zones, and re-constructing channel banks, point bars, flood plains, and stream-meanders. The primary goal of many restoration efforts is to re-establish geomorphic stability of the stream channel and reduce erosive energy from urban runoff. Monitoring streams prior to and after restoration could help quantify other possible benefits of stream restoration, such as improved water quality and biota.

This report presents general watershed characteristics associated with the Minebank Run watershed; a small, urban watershed in the south-central section of Baltimore County, Maryland that was physically restored in phases during 1999, 2004, and 2005. The physiography, geology, hydrology, land use, soils, and pre-restoration geomorphic setting of the unrestored stream channel are discussed.

The report describes a reach of Minebank Run that was selected for the purpose of collecting several types of environmental data prior to restoration, including continuous-record and partial-record stage and streamflow data, precipitation, and ground-water levels. Examples of surface-water data that were collected in and near the study reach during water years 2002 through 2004, including continuous-record streamflow, partial-record stage and discharge, and precipitation, are described. These data were used in analyses of several characteristics of surface-water hydrology in the watershed, including (1) rainfall totals, storm duration, and intensity, (2) instantaneous peak discharge and daily mean discharge, (3) stage-discharge ratings, (4) hydraulic-geometry relations, (5) water-surface slope, (6) time of concentration, (7) flood frequency, (8) flood volume, and (9) rainfall-runoff relations.

Several hydrologic characteristics that are typical of urban environments were quantified by these analyses. These include (1) large ratios of peak discharge to daily mean discharge as an indicator of flashiness, (2) consistent shifting of the stage-discharge rating over short periods of time that indicates instability of the stream channel, (3) analyses of hydraulic-geometry relations that indicate mean velocities of 11 feet per second or more while the flow is contained in the stream channel, (4) discharges that are 4 to 5 times larger in Minebank Run for corresponding flood frequency recurrence intervals than in Slade Run, which is a Piedmont watershed of similar size with smaller percentages of urban development, and (5) flood waves that can travel through the stream channel at a velocity of 412 feet per minute, or 6.9 feet per second.



Description of Study Area
Physiographic Setting
Geologic Setting
Land Use
Geomorphic Setting
Study Design
Data Collection
Pre-Restoration Surface-Water Hydrology
Rainfall Totals, Storm Duration, and Intensity
Comparison of Instantaneous Peak Discharge to Daily Mean Discharge
Stage-Discharge Rating Analysis
Hydraulic-Geometry Relations
Water-Surface Slope
Time of Concentration
Flood Frequency
Flood Volume
Rainfall-Runoff Relations
Potential for Future Study
References Cited

This report is available online in Portable Document Format (PDF). If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader, it is available for free download from Adobe Systems Incorporated.

View the full report in PDF (6.8 MB)

Document Accessibility:  Adobe Systems Incorporated has information about PDFs and the visually impaired. This information provides tools to help make PDF files accessible. These tools and the accessible reader may be obtained free from Adobe at Adobe Access.

For more information about USGS activities in Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia contact:

MD-DE-DC Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
8987 Yellow Brick Road
Baltimore, MD 21237

Telephone: (410) 238-4200
Fax: (410) 238-4210

or access the USGS Water Resources of Maryland, Delaware, and District of Columbia home page at:


Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America home page. FirstGov button U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Persistent URL:
Page Contact Information: USGS Publishing Network
Page Last Modified: Thursday, 01-Dec-2016 19:33:28 EST