After centuries of abuse, the Gwynns Falls is being restored as a healthy stream. Government, civic groups, and scientists monitor water quality here and work together to implement restoration projects. Volunteers pick up trash, plant trees and grasses to stabilize stream banks, promote pollution reduction initiatives, and conduct environmental programs at schools and along this trail. Major storms have devastating effects on the waterway. Since the colonial era, 70 percent of the watershed's forest has disappeared and been replaced by hard, impervious surfaces such as roads and parking lots. The Gwynns Falls' tributaries have been buried in storm drains. As a result, the land cannot absorb the rainfall, and runoff scours the streambeds of the Gwynns Falls.
Rain runs off roofs, roads, and parking lots in such volume and velocity that it scours and erodes streambeds and banks.
Rain falls on trees and other vegetation and evaporates, reducing water temperatures and slowing seeping into the ground and eventually into the stream, filtered and cleaned of pollutants.