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Browse History: Potomac River (2011)

Chesapeake Bay - Reporting Region Summary:

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Bay Health Index
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity Icon
Potomac River: 2011

Poor ecosystem health. Declines in water clarity and benthic community brought down the score slightly, but not enough to change the grade for 2011.*

*The aquatic grass score for this region is an estimate based on partial 2010 and 2011 data.
  • 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 2011, to 3% and 20%, respectively. Both water clarity and chlorophyll scores dropped to the lowest levels ever recorded. 
  • Biotic indicators: Phytoplankton community condition continued to decline, from 9% in 2010 to 2% in 2011. Benthic community condition scores dropped for the second year in a row to 16%, a very poor score. The aquatic grasses score is estimated this year, see Methods tab for more information.

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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