Select Page

Captain Trash Wheel has been removing trash and debris from the Patapsco River for more than four years, but even after collecting more than 29 tons of garbage, there’s more to be done.

Queue up shoreline cleanups at Masonville Cove, located on the Patapsco in South Baltimore.

The Masonville Cove Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership, which includes the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA), organizes periodic cleanups along the shoreline. There have been three cleanups so far this year, with two more scheduled later this summer.

The most recent cleanup was held June 13, when volunteers collected more than 40 pounds of trash. In all, more than 600 pounds of trash has been collected during cleanups, which began about 13 years ago.

“This event is great for community engagement,” said Katrina Jones, outreach coordinator for harbor development at MPA. “And we’re all working to keep the shoreline clean.”

The cleanups run for about an hour, with volunteers bagging and documenting the items they find. At the end of the event, each bag is weighed to see how much trash was collected.

MPA began cleaning up and restoring Masonville Cove in the early 2000s, after purchasing the area.

Masonville’s history dates to the 1800s, when it was a thriving town that experienced growth and prosperity when railroads first came to Baltimore. However, after some time, the economy grew, new immigrants arrived, and the area became industrialized. Although this brought a lot of jobs and business to the area, it also raised land values and, as a result, people living in that area began to leave.

The industrialization also had a negative effect on the Patapsco, and by the 1960s, the river was filled with pollution. Open sewers, foam from detergents and algae blooms fed by excess fertilizers running into the river had polluted the water so much that almost nothing lived in it.

In 2004, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and MPA offered to restore and preserve the Cove. They also offered to build an education center as part of a harbor dredging project. The restoration work began in 2007 and the new Masonville opened two years later.

Masonville Cove’s partners – the Living Classrooms Foundation, The National Aquarium and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with the MPA – play a huge role in education, community engagement and outdoor recreation.

The next cleanups are scheduled for Aug. 13 and Sept. 9. Click here for more information.

For more information about MDOT MPA, go to:

For more information about MDOT, go to: and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.