DNR To Study Impact Of Recent Rains On Water Quality, Habitat And Living Resources

ANNAPOLIS — Over the next several weeks the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and its Chesapeake Bay Program partners will conduct supplemental monitoring cruises to accurately document the impacts of the recent record-setting rains on water quality, habitat and living resources—especially submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). The resulting data will be used to compare and contrast this event to 1972’s Tropical Storm Agnes and 2003’s Tropical Storm Isabel.

“The recent rain event was almost as impressive as that affiliated with Agnes,” said DNR Secretary C. Ronald Franks. “However, unlike Agnes, this event was preceded by record dry periods, so the resulting runoff is not expected to be as great.”

March 2006 was the driest March ever recorded in the Washington/Baltimore area. .Agnes, which also hit the region in June, was preceded by an unusually wet winter and spring providing a saturated landscape.

“Storm events of this magnitude provides another reminder of the impact that impervious surfaces such as roads, rooftops and parking lots have on the natural landscape,” said the Secretary. “Local governments and homeowners can take this opportunity to evaluate their practices to minimize runoff in the future.”

DNR will conduct a supplemental Potomac River water quality mapping and monitoring cruise on Friday, June 30. Biologists will collect nutrient and sediment samples at all the long-term mainstem Potomac stations in order to compare and contrast nutrient and sediment impacts over the 22-year monitoring record. Spatially intensive water quality data will also be measured on the cruise, providing data related to the immediate impacts of the June storms. The regularly scheduled long-term Potomac cruise is scheduled for July 11 and will continue twice a month through October.

DNR will also be conducting monthly spatially intensive monitoring cruises on the Potomac as part of the comprehensive Potomac Shallow Water Monitoring project initiated in April 2006. These cruises are conducted over four consecutive days each month in cooperation with the University of Maryland and St. Mary’s College. The next spatially intensive Potomac Shallow Water cruise is scheduled for the week of July 17 and will provide geographically-specific impacts throughout the Potomac estuary.

The University of Maryland supplemental water quality mapping cruises for the Patuxent estuary, on June 29 and July 5, will be compared to monthly water quality mapping cruises funded by DNR. Over the next several weeks, DNR, along with its partners, will be assessing this data to determine the short- and long-term impacts of the June 2006 high flows to tributary specific water quality.


To obtain water quality data

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