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Watersheds from Anacostia River in Washington DC to Chesapeake Bay Essay

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Among many watersheds in Maryland District, the following are the noted ones which flow from Anacostia river in Washington DC to the Chesapeake Bay: Anacostia River Watershed, Mattawoman Creek Watershed, Potomac River, Middle & Lower Tide Watershed, Piscataway Creek Watershed, Nanjemay Creek Watershed, Gilbert Swamp Watershed, Port Tobaco River Watershed, Zekiah Swamp Watershed, Wicomico River Watershed, Breton Bay Watershed, St. Marys River Watershed Anacostia River Watershed The Anacostia River watershed comprises of the Northease Branch, the Northwest Branch, and the Tidal River and is 176 square miles in area.

Also it has 13 sub-watersheds in southeast Washington DC, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. The tidal Anacostia River flows 8. 4 miles through Washington, DC to join the Potomac River at Hain’s Point. The Anacostia Watershed is home to over 800,000 residents of Maryland and Washington, DC. Anacostia River water suffers from Wetland loss, deforestation, and urbanization. About 23 percent of the watershed area is impervious. Urbanization is dense on the east and west banks of the tidal river in Washington, DC, where more than 70 percent of the land is covered by impervious surfaces.

Anacostia Watershed Restoration Committee (AWRC) is responsible for the ecological and economic importance of the river. All water runs downhill. Charles County is located in eight different watersheds including Nanjemoy Creek, Gilbert Run Swamp, Mattawoman Creek, Patuxent River, Port Tobacco River, Potomac River, Wicomico River and Zekiah Swamp. Mattawoman Creek Watershed Mattawoman Creek Watershed is a shallow tributary of Lower Potomac located in Prince George’s and Charles Counties. The total non-water area of this watershed is 60,300 acres. The Mattawoman Creek watershed is protected by forested lands.

It supports a world class fishing industry. Mattawoman watershed contributes to biodiversity. About 5,900 acres are protected land and park land. A portion of the watershed is listed as impaired for nutrients and sediments. Piscataway Creek Watershed Piscataway Creek is a tidal tributary of the Middle Potomac River. The total non-water area of this watershed is 43, 579 acres. The drainage area is 39. 5 acres. Piscataway creek enters the Potomac river at Fort Washington. Piscataway Creek originates in the west and east of Andrews Air Force Base (AFB) in the vicinity of Camp Springs, Clinton, and Woodyard.

On the southwest side of Andrews AFB, two branches join to form Tinkers Creek, a major tributary to Piscataway Creek. Surface water flows into Tinkers Creek, to Piscataway Creek, and eventually to the Potomac River. The watershed can be characterized as residential and forested. The density of population is high in the northern region. The source of potential microbial loading is from failing septic systems. The southern region is much more forested and agricultural than the northern region, with encroachment of rural development. Nanjemay Creek Watershed

The Nanjemay Creek Watershed is a Tributary of Lower Potomac River. The total non-water area of this watershed is 46, 603 acres. The Nanjemoy Creek watershed is mostly of forest with 90% forested area within 100 meters of streams. About 10% of land in Charles County is cropland with approximately 2% harvested for corn or sorghum. The extent of potential atrazine exposure to riparian areas of Nanjemoy Creek is minimal. The types of riparian areas in the Nanjemoy Creek watershed are not sensitive to atrazine exposure. Therefore, the potential effects to riparian areas and dwarf wedge mussels are insignificant.

Gilbert Swamp Watershed The Gilbert Swamp Watershed is a tributary of Lower Potomac River. The total non-water area of this watershed is 27551 acres. Port Tobacco River Watershed Port Tobacco River is a tributary of Lower Potomac. The total non-water area of this watershed is 28076 acres. The Port Tobacco River is approximately eight and a half miles long, originating from St. Charles City and joins the Potomac River. The river has navigable waters rich in fish and wildlife, and safe to visitors who come for swimming, water sports, hunting and fishing.

The river is of historic importance because it provided access and residence to the first Maryland settlers. Port Tobacco River Watershed is home to bald eagles, blue and gray herons, osprey, deer, etc and other wildlife. The Port Tobacco River has excessive nutrients and suspended sediments. The water is murky and sub aquatic vegetation is disappearing. Also the shellfish population is greatly reduced. The ecological problems are serious, however the biological condition of the River is considered much worse. Significant toxic algae blooms and fish kills were observed in 2002 and 2003.

It was a potential public health hazard due to the water and sediments of the river and its watershed. Potomac River Middle & Lower Tide Watershed The Potomac River estuary extends for 117 miles from its mouth. Lookout on the Maryland side and Smith Point on the Virginia side, to its head-of-tide located approximately 0. 4 miles upstream of Chain Bridge in the District of Columbia. The surface area of all tidal waters, including Potomac River and the tidal Anacostia River, is about 434 mi2. The Lower Tidal watershed is impaired by nutrients, sediments, toxics, bacteria, and it impacts the biological communities.

The Potomac River Middle Tidal watershed is impaired by nutrients, sediments, toxics, metals, Copper, and Lead, and it impacts the biological communities. Zekiah Swamp Watershed The Zekiah Swamp watershed is located in the central Maryland region of the Potomac River tidal estuary. The total non-water area of this watershed is 69,770 acres. The watershed drains south from southern Prince George’s County in Zekiah Swamp Run until it discharges into the Wicomico River at Allens Fresh. The Zekiah Swamp is non-tidal except for the southern-most portion of the watershed near the discharge to the tidal Wicomico River.

Zekiah Swamp is impaired by nutrients, suspended sediments, copper, lead, selenium, zinc, and it impacts the biological communities. However, the waters of the Zekiah Swamp watershed has no signs of toxic impairments due to the nutrients. Wicomico River Watershed Wicomico River Watershed is a tributary of Lower Potomac. The total non-water land covered within this watershed is 69,770 acres. The Wicomico River watershed in Charles and St. Mary’s counties drains into the Potomac River and on to the Chesapeake Bay. The Wicomico enjoys good water quality and provides healthy finfish and oyster, and fishery for the local economy.

The challenge lies in accommodating growth and change while protecting the traditional lifestyles for the farmers and foresters dependent on the watershed’s natural assets. The Wicomico watershed is also home to the Zekiah Swamp, 104 miles of hardwood wetland, viewed as one of the most important ecological areas on the East coast. Breton Bay Watershed Breton Bay watershed is located in Potomac River basin. It has a non-water total area of 34,933 acres. The Breton bay watershed has problems with fecal coliform bacteria, nutrients and sediment.

So far no human health issues due to water quality have been reported. Breton Bay watershed is 60% forested, 25% agriculture and 14% developed land. Much of the Breton Bay watershed is covered with intact forest, providing habitat for many forest interior dwelling species. It has sub-watersheds: Dirict Drainage Breton Bay, Lower MeIntosh River, Glebe Run, Headwaters McIntosh & Brooks Run and Brunt Mill Creek St. Marys River Watershed Wicomico River Watershed is a tributary of Lower Potomac. The total non-water land covered within this watershed is 45,198 acres.

The river is an earth fill embankment 38 feet high and 1670 feet long. The flood discharge facilities for the dam consist of the principal spillway comprised of a drop inlet spillway and two manually operated sluice gates, and a 300-feet wide emergency spillway located adjacent to the right abutment of the dam. Conclusion Water from all the above watersheds like Zekiah Swamp, Mattawoman Creek, Port Tobacco River, Potomac River as well as many others eventually enters into Chesapeake Bay carrying with it whatever it picks up along the way.

References

Anacostia Watershed Society (1998).Watershed Info. Retrieved April 5, 2009, from http://www. anacostiaws. org/About/watershedinfo. html Maryland Department of Natural Resources (2009). Watershed Profiles. Retrived April 5, 2009 from http://mddnr. chesapeakebay. net/wsprofiles/surf/prof/prof. html United States Environmental Protection Agency (2007, September 20). Decision Rationale Total Maximum Daily Loads of Fecal Bacteria for the Non-Tidal Piscataway Creek Basin in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Retrieved April 5, 2009, from http://www. google. com/search? hl=en&q=UNITED+STATES+ENVIRONMENTAL+PROTECTION+AGENCY&btnG=Search

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