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Browse History: Potomac River (2010)

Chesapeake Bay - Reporting Region Summary:

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

Poor ecosystem health. This region had the second largest decline of all regions, from a 45% in 2009 to a 34% in 2010. Four of the six indicators dropped in score.
  • Water quality: Dissolved oxygen scores remained relatively steady, in moderately good condition, which is consistent with the scores over the entire period of record. Water clarity and chlorophyll a scores declined in 2010, to 15% and 26%, respectively. This is the first drop in water clarity, which has been gradually improving since 2003.
  • Biotic indicators: The only biotic indicator not to drop in score was aquatic grasses, which remained steady from 2009 at 46%. Following its highest score since 1992, phytoplankton community condition dropped dramatically, from 43% in 2009 to 9% in 2010. Benthic community condition scores also dropped by 12%, but remained in the poor range seen over the 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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Dynamic Conceptual Diagram

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Region Info

The Potomac River watershed drains approximately 14,670 square miles of land, covering four states. Major bodies of water in the area include the Potomac, Anacostia, Cacapon, Monocacy, the North Branch, the South Branch, the Occoquan, and the Shenandoah Rivers. The Potomac River flows over 383 miles from Fairfax Stone, West Virginia to Point Lookout, Maryland. Major cities in the watershed include Washington, D.C, Bethesda, Cumberland, Frederick, Gettysburg and Alexandria. Forest is the major land use, followed by agriculture. The 2000 census population of the watershed was approximately 5.35 million. Washington, D.C. alone had 3.7 million people (2000 census). Based on information available at the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin website.

potomac_riverconceptual diagram.png

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