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Browse History: Patuxent River (2010)

Chesapeake Bay - Reporting Region Summary:

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Bay Health Index
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon
Patuxent River: 2010

Poor ecosystem health. No improvement in overall health of this region. While water quality indicators declined, phytoplankton and benthic communities improved.
  • Water quality: All three indicators declined in 2010. Chlorophyll a and water clarity scores were both very poor, scoring 6% and 5%, respectively. The chlorophyll a score is the lowest seen during the entire period of record. Dissolved oxygen scores declined slightly following four previous years of improvement, but were still moderately good.
  • Biotic indicators: Phytoplankton community condition scores increased to 28% in 2010, which, while still poor, is the highest since 1992. Benthic community condition scores also increased, but are also still in poor condition. Aquatic grasses remained very poor, which is consistent with scores from the entire period of record.

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 Patuxent River watershed drains approximately 900 square miles of land. This area includes portions of St. Mary's, Calvert, Charles, Anne Arundel, Prince George's, Howard, and Montgomery Counties. Three main streams drain into the upper Patuxent River: the Little Patuxent, which drains much of the newly urbanized area of Columbia; the Middle Patuxent, which drains agricultural lands in the northern part of its drainage and the outer suburban areas of Columbia in the southern part of its watershed; and the (upper) Patuxent River, which has remained primarily agricultural. Land use in the watershed is mainly forest, with significant urban and agriculture development. Two large metropolitan areas, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., border the Patuxent River, and the watershed has gone through significant suburban development in the past few decades. Columbia and Laurel have developed along the Interstate 95 corridor, which bisects the upper half of the watershed. The 2000 census population for the watershed was 18,000 people. (Based on MD DNR Tributary Strategy Report by Karrh et al., 2007 and updated 2000 land use classifications).

patuxent_riverconceptual diagram.png

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