The Chesapeake Bay Watershed The Chesapeake Bay holds more than 18 trillion gallons of water. The Bay receives about half its water volume from the Atlantic Ocean. The rest drains into the Bay from an enormous 64,000-square-mile watershed. The Chesapeake Bay watershed includes parts of six states – Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia – and the entire District of Columbia. About 150 streams, creeks and rivers drain to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Approximately 51 billion gallons of water flow into the Bay each day from its freshwater tributaries. Collectively, the Chesapeakes three largest rivers – the Susquehanna, Potomac and James rivers – provide more than 80 percent of the fresh water to the Bay. The Chesapeake Bay watershed is home to more than 17 million people. About 150,000 new people move into the Bay watershed each year. More than 100,000 streams, creeks and rivers thread through the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Everyone in the watershed lives within a few miles of one of these tributaries, which are like pipelines from our communities to the Bay. There are nearly 18,000 local governments in the Bay watershed, including towns, cities, counties and townships. The Chesapeake Bay watershed contains three distinct geologic regions: the Atlantic coastal plain, the Piedmont plateau and the Appalachian province. Approximately 7.3 million acres of land in the Bay watershed portions of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia are permanently preserved from development. There are more than 700 public access points on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
The Chesapeake Bay Watershed The Chesapeake Bay was the first estuary in the nation to be targeted for restoration as an integrated watershed and ecosystem. The Bay supports more than 2,700 species of plants and animals, including 348 species of finfish and 173 species of shellfish. The Bay produces about 500 million pounds of seafood per year. The Chesapeake region is home to at least 29 species of waterfowl. Nearly one million waterfowl winter on the Bay – approximately one-third of the Atlantic coasts migratory population. The birds stop to feed and rest on the Bay during their annual migration along the Atlantic Flyway. Nearly 80,000 acres of bay grasses grow in the shallows of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Young and molting blue crabs rely on bay grass beds for protection from predators. Approximately 284,000 acres of tidal wetlands grow the Chesapeake Bay region. Wetlands provide critical habitat for fish, birds, crabs and many other species. Forests cover 58 percent of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The region loses about 100 acres of forest each day to development.
Some Important Dates in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed History 1900s The dramatic drop in oyster populations starts to have an effect on the Bays health, and state and federal laws move to control the industry. Scientists begin to ask questions about the effects of human activity on the Bay. 1950s The 4.2 mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge is completed, connecting Anne Arundel County, Maryland, to Kent Island. The bridge opens the Eastern Shore to development. Across the region, developers drain and fill wetlands to build new houses, stores and buildings 1973 U.S. Senator Charles Mathias tours the Chesapeake Bay shoreline and sponsors legislation that prompts the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a study on the Bays health. This is the first time the Bays degrading health is brought to the publics attention. 2009 The Executive Council develops short, two-year goals called milestones to measure restoration efforts. President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order calling on the federal government to lead the effort to control pollution and protect wildlife habitats. Annapolis, Md., becomes the first jurisdiction in the Bay
Water Near You Think about where the water from your yard ends up. Probably flows down the street, Into a drain, through a treatment plant, and then into a stream. Some yards drain into a small stream, then larger stream, then a river, bay, ocean.
Trap Pond State Park Water flows from Trap Pond into Hitch Pond Branch, this flows into the James Branch, the James Branch flows into Records Pond, Records pond empties into Broad Creek. Broad Creek winds its way down to the Nanticoke River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. Even the Chesapeake eventually moves its water to the Atlantic Ocean.
The Universal Solvent Water is capable of dissolving a variety of different substances, which is why it is such a good solvent. In fact, water is called the "universal solvent" because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid. This is important to every living thing on earth. It means that wherever water goes, either through the air, the ground, or through our bodies, it takes along valuable chemicals, minerals, and nutrients. Water is unique in that it is the only natural substance that is found in all three physical statesliquid, solid, and gasat the temperatures normally found on Earth.
TemperatureDensityWeight o F/°Cgrams/cm 3 pounds/ft 3 32°/0°0.9998762.416 39.2°/4.0°1.0000062.424 40°/4.4°0.9999962.423 50°/10°0.9997562.408 60°/15.6°0.9990762.366 70°/21°0.9980262.300 80°/26.7°0.9966962.217 90°/32.2°0.9951062.118 100°/37.8°0.9931861.998 120°/48.9°0.9887061.719 140°/60°0.9833861.386 160°/71.1°0.9772961.006 180°/82.2°0.9705660.586 200°/93.3°0.9633360.135 212°/100°0.9586559.843 Water is one of the most powerful and dangerous forces in nature. This force has moved mountains and leveled cities. Try to lift a five gallon bucket filled with water. That water is extremely heavy 5 gallons weights about 43 lbs. (8.5 lbs. per gallon).
Water Quality Water quality can be thought of as a measure of the suitability of water for a particular use based on selected physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. To determine water quality, scientists first measure and analyze characteristics of the water such as temperature, pH, concentration of elements, dissolved oxygen, number of bacteria, and number of living organisms.
What is naturally in the water? Natural water quality varies from place to place, with the seasons, with climate, and with the types of soils and rocks through which water moves. When water from rain or snow moves over the land and through the ground, the water may dissolve minerals in rocks and soil, percolate through organic material such as roots and leaves, and react with algae, bacteria, and other microscopic organisms. Water may also carry plant debris and sand, silt, and clay to rivers and streams making the water appear muddy or turbid. When water evaporates from lakes and streams, dissolved minerals are more concentrated in the water that remains. Each of these natural processes changes the water quality and potentially the water use. In general, the common constituents are not considered harmful to human health, although some constituents can affect the taste, smell, or clarity of water. Plant nutrients and trace elements in water can be harmful to human health and aquatic life if they exceed standards or guidelines. Dissolved gases such as oxygen are common in natural waters. Adequate oxygen levels in water are a necessity for fish and other aquatic life.
Macro invertebrates Grouped by Level of Pollution Tolerance Use The Pollution Tolerance Index Worksheet (PTI) PTI 1: Generally tolerant of pollution. Large numbers of these types of organisms normally, in the absence of PTI 2 and PTI 3 organisms, indicate POOR WATER QUALITY. PTI 2: Can exist under a wide range of water quality conditions. Large numbers of these organisms, in the MEDIUM Pollution ToleranceIndex (PTI=2) Aquatic Macro Invertebrates absence of PTI 3 organisms, normally indicate MODERATE WATER QUALITY. PTI 3: Generally sensitive to pollution. Large numbers of these types of organisms normally indicate GOOD WATER QUALITY. LOW Pollution Tolerance Index (PTI=3) Aquatic Macro Invertebrates
Dissolved Oxygen Dissolved oxygen (DO) is the amount of oxygen in a solution or water. Many aquatic organisms depend on a sufficient DO supply in order to survive. The oxygen in the atmosphere may enter the water through the surface or through aquatic plants, through the process of photosynthesis. Oxygen concentrations are lowest at sunrise and increase during daylight hours. DO levels below 4.0 mg/l(ppm) can be stressful for aquatic organisms. The concentration of dissolved oxygen in surface water is controlled by temperature and has both a seasonal and a daily cycle. Cold water can hold more dissolved oxygen than warm water. In winter and early spring, when the water temperature is low, the dissolved oxygen concentration is high. In summer and fall, when the water temperature is high, the dissolved- oxygen concentration is low. Dissolved oxygen in surface water is used by all forms of aquatic life; therefore, this constituent typically is measured to assess the "health" of lakes and streams. Oxygen enters a stream from the atmosphere and from ground-water discharge. The contribution of oxygen from ground-water discharge is significant, however, only in areas where ground water is a large component of stream flow, such as in areas of glacial deposits. Photosynthesis is the primary process affecting the dissolved-oxygen/temperature relation; water clarity and strength and duration of sunlight, in turn, affect the rate of photosynthesis. Dissolved-oxygen concentrations fluctuate with water temperature seasonally as well as diurnally (daily).
Nitrogen & Phosphorus Nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, are essential for plant and animal growth and nourishment, but the overabundance of certain nutrients in water can cause a number of adverse health and ecological effects. Nitrogen, in the forms of nitrate, nitrite, or ammonium, is a nutrient needed for plant growth. Excess nitrogen can cause overstimulation of growth of aquatic plants and algae. Excessive growth of these organisms, in turn, can clog water intakes, use up dissolved oxygen as they decompose, and block light to deeper waters. Nitrogen and phosphorous occur in small amounts in pond waters and are important for aquatic life. Compounds of nitrogen and phosphorous such as nitrite, nitrate, ammonia and phosphate are known as nutrients because plants need them for growth. These nutrients act as fertilizers for any phytoplankton or aquatic vegetation. Excessive amounts of These nutrients may be detrimental by increasing plant production, fostering oxygen depletion, increasing the amount of organic matter, and changing species composition of the pond.
pH pH is a measurement of how acidic or basic (alkaline) the water is. pH is measured on a scale of 1 to 14, with 1 being the most acidic (having a higher hydrogen ion concentration) and 14 being the most basic. A pH of 7 reflects the water is at neutrality. Extreme high and or low pH can be detrimental for the use of water. High pH causes a bitter taste, water pipes and water-using appliances become encrusted with deposits, and it depresses the effectiveness of the disinfection of chlorine, thereby causing the need for additional chlorine when pH is high. Low-pH water will corrode or dissolve metals and other substances. Pollution can change a water's pH, which in turn can harm animals and plants living in the water.
Turbidity Turbidity is the measure of relative clarity of a liquid. It is an optical characteristic of water and is an expression of the amount of light that is scattered by material in the water when a light is shined through the water sample. The higher the intensity of scattered light, the higher the turbidity, material that causes water to be turbid include clay, silt, finely divided inorganic and organic matter, algae, soluble colored organic compounds, and plankton and other microscopic organisms. High concentrations of particulate matter affect light penetration and productivity, recreational values, and habitat quality, and cause lakes to fill in faster. In streams, increased sedimentation and siltation can occur, which can result in harm to habitat areas for fish and other aquatic life. Particles also provide attachment places for other pollutants, notably metals and bacteria. For this reason, turbidity readings can be used as an indicator of potential pollution in a water body.
Salinity First, what do we mean by "saline water?" Water that is saline contains significant amounts (referred to as "concentrations") of dissolved salts. In this case, the concentration is the amount (by weight) of salt in water, as expressed in "parts per million" (ppm). If water has a concentration of 10,000 ppm of dissolved salts, then one percent (10,000 divided by 1,000,000) of the weight of the water comes from dissolved salts. Here are our parameters for saline water Fresh water - Less than 1,000 ppm Slightly saline water - From 1,000 ppm to 3,000 ppm Moderately saline water - From 3,000 ppm to 10,000 ppm Highly saline water - From 10,000 ppm to 35,000 ppm By the way, ocean water contains about 35,000 ppm of salt.
Human Impact A significant portion of rainfall in forested watersheds is absorbed into soils (infiltration), is stored as ground water, and is slowly discharged to streams through seeps and springs. As watersheds are urbanized, much of the vegetation is replaced by impervious surfaces, thus reducing the area where infiltration to ground water can occur. Thus, more storm water runoff occurs - runoff that must be collected by extensive drainage systems that combine curbs, storm sewers (as shown in this picture), and ditches to carry storm water runoff directly to streams. More simply, in a developed watershed, much more water arrives into a stream much more quickly, resulting in an increased likelihood of more frequent and more severe flooding. Drainage ditches to carry storm water runoff to storage ponds are often built to hold runoff and collect excess sediment in order to keep it out of streams. Runoff from agricultural land (and even our own yards) can carry excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus into streams, lakes, and ground-water supplies. These excess nutrients have the potential to degrade water quality.