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Browse History: Rappahannock River (2010)

Chesapeake Bay - Reporting Region Summary:



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Scores & Conceptual Diagram


Bay Health Index
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon
43%
C-
Rappahannock River: 2010

Moderately poor ecosystem health. All water quality indicators and the overall score declined, but phytoplankton community and aquatic grasses scores improved.
  • Water quality: All three indicators declined in score during 2010; however, dissolved oxygen scores remain in good condition (83%). After improving from 2% to 26% over the past four years, water clarity scores declined sharply in 2010, back to very poor condition (4%). Chlorophyll a scores dropped to 20%, the lowest score since 2005.
  • Biotic indicators: Aquatic grasses scores continued to increase in 2010, following last year’s dramatic increase of 35%. Scoring 83%—the highest score ever recorded for this region—aquatic grass distribution continues to see steady improvement following a major loss in 2003. Contrary to last year, benthic community condition declined slightly, remaining in poor condition, while phytoplankton community condition improved from poor to moderate condition.

Score Legend
Locator Map
  Index/Indicator Score     Index/Indicator Score
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Chlorophyll a
20%
  Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Aquatic grasses
83%
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Dissolved oxygen
83%
  Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity
20%
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Water clarity
4%
  Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Phytoplankton Index of Biotic Integrity
47%
 
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon Water Quality Index
35%
  Biotic Index Icon Biotic Index
50%
 

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Dynamic Conceptual Diagram

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Region Info

The Rappahannock River watershed drains approximately 2,700 square miles of land. The river itself begins in the Blue Ridge Mountains and flows for 185 miles, becoming tidal near Fredericksburg. Major bodies of water include the Rapidan, the Robinson, and the Corrotoman Rivers. The majority of the Rappahannock watershed is forested, with agriculture/farming accounting for a third of the land use. Major cities in the watershed include Fredericksburg, Culpeper, Falmouth, Orange, and Tappahannock. The census population for 2000 in the watershed was 241,000. (Based on information in Dauer, et al., 2005).

rappahannock_riverconceptual diagram.png

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