BALTIMORE (WJZ)– It’s an ambitious goal: Make the Inner Harbor a place for swimming and fishing by 2020. A new report card released this week shows volunteers are on track to do that.

As Tim Williams reports, there’s still much work to be done.

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Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is on track to be a place for swimming and fishing in eight years, thanks to a boost in volunteers.

But a new report released this week shows the water quality in the harbor is still poor. Blame it on a surge in trash and pollution.

“Worrying about the harbor will tell us something about the health of the entire city,” said Mike Hankin of the Healthy Harbor Initiative.

The Healthy Harbor campaign, which started back in 2009, is behind the efforts.

Over the year-long study, the group discovered that oxygen levels and water clarity in some parts of the harbor are better than last year.

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But there’s still a high level of chlorophyll, which causes algae blooms and kill sea life.

The group says what’s needed now is more support from city neighborhoods to keep trash out of storm drains.

“These storm drains don’t go to treatment plants and water going to storm drains and garbage don’t just disappear. They go to the harbor,” Andy Lindquist, coordinator of the Healthy Harbor Initiative, said.

So volunteers plan to spread the word for a healthy harbor by painting murals on storm drains.

“What we’re trying to do is remind people of the connection those storm drains have to our streams. So antifreeze, people who change their oil and dump it in the storm drains, it’s a big, big problem,” Lindquist said.

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As the group works to clean up the Inner Harbor, it says more city and Baltimore County neighbors are becoming interested in volunteering.

Tim Williams