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Browse History: Lower Western Shore (MD) (2010)

Chesapeake Bay - Reporting Region Summary:

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Bay Health Index
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon
Lower Western Shore (MD): 2010

Very poor ecosystem health-lowest ranked region in the Bay. Despite last year's slight improvement, this region's health continues to decline. Five of the six indicators scored an F.
  • Water quality: Water clarity has been consistently very poor in this region. In 2010, water clarity scored 0% for the third consecutive year, and for the eighth year out of the past nine. Both chlorophyll a and dissolved oxygen declined following improvement the previous year. In particular, chlorophyll a declined to 2% in 2010 after reaching 16% in 2009, following a 0% score in 2008. This up-and-down pattern of very poor scores has characterized this region since 2006.
  • Biotic indicators: Following the trend of the past three years, all biotic indicators were in very poor condition in 2010. Benthic community conditions decreased by 33% to 0%, following two previous years of improvement. Aquatic grasses scores continued to decrease as they have since 2005, and phytoplankton community scores decreased by 4%.

Score Legend
Locator Map
  Index/Indicator Score     Index/Indicator Score
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Chlorophyll a
  Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Aquatic grasses
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Dissolved oxygen
  Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Water clarity
  Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Phytoplankton Index of Biotic Integrity
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Water Quality Index
  Biotic Index Icon Biotic Index

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Region Info

The Lower Western Shore watershed drains approximately 300 square miles of land in Anne Arundel and Calvert Counties. The largest bodies of water in the watershed are the Magothy, Severn, South, Rhode, and West Rivers. Due to low elevation, surface waters often generally flow slowly through winding trails, and sometimes through wetlands before reaching the Bay. The Lower Western Shore is largely forested, with urban development the second largest land use. Major cities in the area include Annapolis, Severna Park, Arnold, and Chesapeake Beach. The census population for 2000 for the basin was 278,000 people. 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).

lower_western_shoreconceptual diagram.png

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