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Browse History: Patapsco and Back Rivers (2010)

Chesapeake Bay - Reporting Region Summary:

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Bay Health Index
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon
Patapsco and Back Rivers: 2010

Very poor ecosystem health. Four indicators-chlorophyll a, water clarity, phytoplankton community, and aquatic grasses-scored 0%.
  • Water quality: Over the past 20+ years, water quality indicators have been consistently poor in this region. In 2010, water clarity and chlorophyll a both scored 0% (meaning conditions never exceeded the threshold levels) for the sixth year in a row. Water clarity has scored 0% since 2000. The dissolved oxygen score in 2010 was 53%, up from 46% in 2009, but still the second lowest dissolved oxygen score for all regions.
  • Biotic indicators: Aquatic grasses were in very poor condition (0%), which is consistent with results during the entire period of record, with the exception of a short two-year period between 2004 and 2005, when the score increased to 72%. Benthic and phytoplankton community condition tend to vary widely from year to year in this region. In 2010, the phytoplankton community condition score (0%) decreased from the steady 10% seen over the past three years, while the benthic community condition score decreased to 45% in 2010 from 55% in 2009.

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 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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