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Browse History: Patapsco and Back Rivers (2009)

Chesapeake Bay - Reporting Region Summary:



  Estuary Selection Map

Scores & Conceptual Diagram


Bay Health Index
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon
19%
F
Patapsco and Back Rivers: 2009

Very poor ecosystem health - lowest ranked region in the Bay. Continued decline of dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll a, and water clarity scores. Biotic indicators are slowly improving.
  • Water quality: Over the past 20+ years, all water quality indicators have been consistently poor in this region. In 2009, water clarity and chlorophyll a both scored a 0% (meaning conditions never exceeded the threshold levels) for the fifth year in a row. The dissolved oxygen score in 2009 was 46%, the lowest score in the bay.
  • Biotic indicators: Benthic and phytoplankton community condition tend to vary widely from year to year in this region. In 2009, the phytoplankton community condition score (10%) stayed the same as in 2008 while the benthic community condition score increased to 55% (from 44% in 2008). Aquatic grasses remained in very poor condition (3%), which is consistent with results since 1989, with the exception of a short two-year period (2004 and 2005), when the score increased to 72%.

Score Legend
Locator Map
  Index/Indicator Score     Index/Indicator Score
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Chlorophyll a
0%
  Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Aquatic grasses
3%
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Dissolved oxygen
46%
  Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity
55%
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Water clarity
0%
  Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Phytoplankton Index of Biotic Integrity
10%
 
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Water Quality Index
15%
  Biotic Index Icon Biotic Index
23%
 

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Dynamic Conceptual Diagram

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Region Info

The Patapsco and Back Rivers watershed drains 630 square miles. This area includes Baltimore, and portions of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, and Howard Counties. The area is very populated and urbanized. The census population in 2000 for the watershed was 1,480,000. Baltimore is the largest city in the watershed, with suburbs of the city extending out from it in every direction. Other large cities include Westminster, Ellicott City, Towson, and Glen Burnie. There are seven major wastewater treatment plants in the watershed. (Based on MD DNR Tributary Strategy Report by Karrh et al., 2007 and updated 2000 land use classifications).

patapsco_back_riversconceptual diagram.png

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