BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s an ambitious goal: make the Inner Harbor a place for swimming and fishing by 2020.  One Baltimore organization says it can be done. 

Gigi Barnett reports it’s invited a renowned water activist to Baltimore to prove it.

Between the location, view and history, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor attracts thousands of visitors every year.  But what if, instead of eating near the water, people could fish or swim in it.

According to Baltimore’s Waterfront Partnership, it could happen.

“It could be done.  If there’s a will, it can be done,” said Laurie Schwartz.

Schwartz runs the non-profit organization.  Last year, the group launched a plan to clean up the harbor and make it healthy for swimming and fishing by 2020.  But the group wanted examples from around the world of how to do it.  It planned a weekend conference to find them.

“There isn’t a magic wand,” Schwartz said.

The partnership also invited an expert to Baltimore this weekend who knows how to improve water quality first hand.  She’s Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of famed water researcher and activist Jacques Costeau.  She says Baltimore is on the right track.

“This is a great first step.  It just might take a little time,” Costeau said.

The group says it’s not just the trash in the harbor that must be removed.  Supporters want to get rid of all types of pollution, everything from harmful vehicle emissions to cigarette butts that collect near the water.

The Waterfront Partnership says the one thing that will stall the project is a lack of community support, so it’s asked local businesses, schools and even artists to help.

The Waterfront Partnership’s short-term goal is to clean the harbor enough for swimming by 2015.

Comments (31)
  1. Evan Thalenberg says:

    Love that!!

  2. willie joe wanker says:

    Not as long as people are slobs & throw their trash in storm drains that end up in the Harbor.

  3. J says:

    It’s not even the trash that’s the problem, it’s sludge. You have tons of sludge at the bottom of the Inner Harbor that is full of toxins and chemicals that have collected in the innner harbor from companies that use to dump their waste water into the waterways for decades. They are removing sludge every year but it’s just so much and a lot of it’s so toxic that swimming in the Inner Harbor is more of a dream than reality.

  4. Mike says:

    Then let these people pay for it. Nothing stopping them. Just don’t charge me for this. I can fish and swim elsewhere.

  5. donald holloway says:

    City brook, need additional funding. But want to waste more for what is wasted.

  6. Scarlett says:


  7. Dale says:

    I watched a kid on Falls Rd. come out of the house and throw their garbage onto the storm drain. Mom was standing on the front porch when this was happening. Good Luck on that one.

  8. Dennis Trencher says:

    I’d like to make it safe to walk through it. One step at a time

  9. George says:

    This is one of the craziest things I have ever heard. This is equal to painting the rust spots and polishing the brass on the Titanic as it was sinking. Baltimore is rampant with severe problems in education, a police force which has a terrible record and a murder and violent crime rate which is among the highest in the nation. Now someone wants to clean up the Inner Harbor. How about correcting the core problems before polishing the bricks of the Inner Harbor.

  10. Laurie says:

    I would even think of swimming in the harbor even if I could and wanted to. You could not pay me enough money to. I think the money money for the up keed of the habor should be spent in education.

  11. Rick says:

    It is not safe to even walk down the inner harbor. Too much crime along with a weak Police Commissioner.

  12. tc says:

    I already thought it was safe to swim in the inner harbor ,After all you see bodies in there all the time these days…..

  13. Doug says:

    Most of the bodies found were floating,
    but not really in a full swimming stride.
    YOU can swim in it,if you want some funky skin disorder.

  14. harsh reality says:

    I think that even the people who are trying to organize this know that it is stupid, so they must be doing it for publicity. They truly are idiots, saying they’ll clean up the inner harbor is like saying they’ll clean up drug use in the city.

  15. Brad says:

    I can’t imagine a better thing happening to Baltimore. Perhaps if they really can clean up the harbor that would expand to the rest of the bay. I used to give to the Cheasapeake Bay Foundation via payroll deductions. I stopped however because I felt I was just wasting my money. If they can pull this off it would make a believer out of me again.

  16. bjp says:

    Try dropping an anchor and see what you pull up. It would niece to be abale to walk around the harbor without smelling the green tide. Fish die every year in large numbers, but we expect humans to be able to venture into the water.

  17. Jonny says:

    They’ll never get Allied Chemical’s chromium out of the harbor. It’s ruined, period.

  18. East Coast says:

    The first step is going to be to keep the floating bodies out of the water. That’s before you even try to stop the tons of sludge and chemicals going in there. Jonny’s comment about Allied is spot on. That place stinks and there’s more flotsam than tourists.

  19. Zeph says:

    Make it nice for the same stinking ghettorats who drop McD trash all over? Sure, turn the harbor into their toilet. Good thinking!

  20. Barney Miller says:

    In that water, you don’t drown, you DISSOLVE.

  21. Ryan says:

    Lets swim with all the dead bodies in the habor!

  22. Faith says:

    Cleaning that water up sounds good but swimming and fishing? No. Don’t want three eyed fish on my plate!

    1. willie man hanging says:

      How about a one eyed trouser trouser trout ?

  23. what says:

    make swimming in the harbor the new gang initiations, many wont survive for long anyway.

  24. Flogging Molley says:

    Stop worrying citizens, its not for Baltimoreans its for tourist. Anyone who lives in Baltimore knows better than to get into that water. Only rich tourist would be naive enough. I can see them now, going home to Kansas with radiation burns, and hair falling out.

  25. Signtopia says:

    Never gonna happen.

  26. Debbie says:

    Unless they clean up the crime in the area they are wasting their time and our money

  27. overregulated says:

    Where is the Chesapeake Bay Foundation? Isn’t the Harbor connected to the Bay? They will never address the harbor because of politics, and neither will the State, and will continue to punish the Eastern Shore with crippling regulations.

    1. sheriff willie says:

      The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is nothing more than group of punch drunk liberal do gooders that want to meet for lunch & spend the donation money it gets. It really is nothing more that a PAC committee sucking hind tit.

      1. overregulated says:

        OK then, what about Martin O’Malley or the Critical Area Commission? We are getting regulated to death on the Eastern Shore, where you CAN swim in the water, to clean up the Bay, but I suppose that since Baltimore votes Democratic they will never see regs like we get.

  28. willie man hanging says:

    They clean up the harbor when pimps run monastery’s & fleas can’t jump. Who dreams up this clean harbor stuff?….Allied chemical saw to that & now one day stupid consumers will buy condos on the site.

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