Watts Branch (Potomac River tributary)

Last updated
Watts Branch
USA Maryland location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of the mouth in Maryland
Location
Country United States
State Maryland
Physical characteristics
Source 
 - location Rockville, Maryland
 - coordinates 39°05′48″N77°09′26″W / 39.0967748°N 77.1572024°W / 39.0967748; -77.1572024
Mouth Potomac River
 - location Montgomery County, Maryland
 - coordinates 39°02′23″N77°15′36″W / 39.0398312°N 77.2599817°W / 39.0398312; -77.2599817 Coordinates: 39°02′23″N77°15′36″W / 39.0398312°N 77.2599817°W / 39.0398312; -77.2599817
 - elevation167 ft (51 m)
Length11.2 mi (18.0 km)
Basin features
Basin size22 sq mi (57 km2)
Tributaries 
 - leftFallsmead, Horizon Hill, Cold Spring, Fallsreach, Kilgour Branch
 - rightResearch Blvd., Lakewood, Valley Dr., Piney Branch, Sandy Branch

Watts Branch is a tributary stream of the Potomac River in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Tributary stream or river that flows into a main stem river or lake

A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and the main stem river drain the surrounding drainage basin of its surface water and groundwater, leading the water out into an ocean.

Potomac River river in the mid-Atlantic United States

The Potomac River is located within the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and flows from the Potomac Highlands into the Chesapeake Bay. The river is approximately 405 miles (652 km) long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles (38,000 km2). In terms of area, this makes the Potomac River the fourth largest river along the Atlantic coast of the United States and the 21st largest in the United States. Over 5 million people live within the Potomac watershed.

Montgomery County, Maryland County in Maryland

Montgomery County is the most populous county in the U.S. state of Maryland, located adjacent to Washington, D.C. As of the 2010 census, the county's population was 971,777, increasing by 8.3% to an estimated 1,052,567 in 2018. The county seat and largest municipality is Rockville, although the census-designated place of Germantown is the most populous place. Montgomery County is included in the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in turn forms part of the Baltimore–Washington Combined Statistical Area. Most of the county's residents live in unincorporated locales, of which the most built up are Silver Spring and Bethesda, although the incorporated cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg are also large population centers, as are many smaller but significant places.

Contents

Course

The headwaters of the stream originate in the city of Rockville, and the branch flows southwest for 11.2 miles (18.0 km), [1] under the C&O Canal near Swain's Lock, to the Potomac River, which drains to the Chesapeake Bay. The watershed area is about 22 square miles (57 km2). [2] :p. 1–3

Rockville, Maryland City in Maryland

Rockville is a city and the county seat of Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, part of the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. The 2010 census tabulated Rockville's population at 61,209, making it one of the largest communities in Maryland and the third largest location in Montgomery County, after Silver Spring and Germantown.

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal canal in Washington, D.C. and Maryland

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, abbreviated as the C&O Canal and occasionally called the "Grand Old Ditch," operated from 1831 until 1924 along the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., to Cumberland, Maryland. The canal's principal cargo was coal from the Allegheny Mountains.

Chesapeake Bay An estuary in the U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia

The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary in the U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia. The Bay is located in the Mid-Atlantic region and is primarily separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Delmarva Peninsula with its mouth located between Cape Henry and Cape Charles. With its northern portion in Maryland and the southern part in Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay is a very important feature for the ecology and economy of those two states, as well as others. More than 150 major rivers and streams flow into the Bay's 64,299-square-mile (166,534 km2) drainage basin, which covers parts of six states and all of Washington, D.C.

Portions of Watts Branch flow through a stream valley park, a mostly undeveloped natural area which acts as a riparian buffer zone to help minimize stream bank erosion and filter pollutants from stormwater runoff. [3]

Riparian zone interface between land and a river or stream

A riparian zone or riparian area is the interface between land and a river or stream. Riparian is also the proper nomenclature for one of the terrestrial biomes of the Earth. Plant habitats and communities along the river margins and banks are called riparian vegetation, characterized by hydrophilic plants. Riparian zones are important in ecology, environmental resource management, and civil engineering because of their role in soil conservation, their habitat biodiversity, and the influence they have on fauna and aquatic ecosystems, including grasslands, woodlands, wetlands, or even non-vegetative areas. In some regions the terms riparian woodland, riparian forest, riparian buffer zone,riparian corridor and riparian strip are used to characterize a riparian zone. The word riparian is derived from Latin ripa, meaning river bank.

Erosion Processes which remove soil and rock from one place on the Earths crust, then transport it to another location where it is deposited

In earth science, erosion is the action of surface processes that removes soil, rock, or dissolved material from one location on the Earth's crust, and then transports it to another location. This natural process is caused by the dynamic activity of erosive agents, that is, water, ice (glaciers), snow, air (wind), plants, animals, and humans. In accordance with these agents, erosion is sometimes divided into water erosion, glacial erosion, snow erosion, wind (aeolic) erosion, zoogenic erosion, and anthropogenic erosion. The particulate breakdown of rock or soil into clastic sediment is referred to as physical or mechanical erosion; this contrasts with chemical erosion, where soil or rock material is removed from an area by its dissolving into a solvent, followed by the flow away of that solution. Eroded sediment or solutes may be transported just a few millimetres, or for thousands of kilometres.

Surface runoff The flow of excess stormwater, meltwater, or water from other sources over the Earths surface

Surface runoff is the flow of water that occurs when excess stormwater, meltwater, or other sources flows over the Earth's surface. This might occur because soil is saturated to full capacity, because rain arrives more quickly than soil can absorb it, or because impervious areas send their runoff to surrounding soil that cannot absorb all of it. Surface runoff is a major component of the water cycle. It is the primary agent in soil erosion by water.

Development impacts on water quality

While some parts of the Watts Branch watershed are parkland or remain forested, the area is adjacent to Rockville town center and the Interstate 270 corridor. This community has experienced extensive residential and commercial development over the past several decades. Population in the Rockville city limits (of which only a portion is in the Watts Branch watershed) more than doubled between 1960 and 2010, from approximately 26,000 to 61,000. [4] These development trends have led to degraded water quality due to stormwater pollution in some portions of the Watts Branch mainstem and tributaries. The stream and watershed have been the subject of extensive studies and planning by Montgomery County and the City of Rockville. [2] [5] A number of stream restoration projects have been undertaken by both governments. [6] [7]

Park area of open space used for recreation or conservation

A park is an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. Urban parks are green spaces set aside for recreation inside towns and cities. National parks and Country parks are green spaces used for recreation in the countryside. State parks and Provincial parks are administered by sub-national government states and agencies. Parks may consist of grassy areas, rocks, soil and trees, but may also contain buildings and other artifacts such as monuments, fountains or playground structures. Many parks have fields for playing sports such as soccer, baseball and football, and paved areas for games such as basketball. Many parks have trails for walking, biking and other activities. Some parks are built adjacent to bodies of water or watercourses and may comprise a beach or boat dock area. Urban parks often have benches for sitting and may contain picnic tables and barbecue grills.

Forest dense collection of trees covering a relatively large area

A forest is a large area dominated by trees. Hundreds of more precise definitions of forest are used throughout the world, incorporating factors such as tree density, tree height, land use, legal standing and ecological function. According to the widely used Food and Agriculture Organization definition, forests covered 4 billion hectares (9.9×109 acres) (15 million square miles) or approximately 30 percent of the world's land area in 2006.

Interstate 270 (I-270) is a 34.70-mile (55.84 km) auxiliary Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Maryland that travels between I-495 just north of Bethesda, Montgomery County and I-70 in the city of Frederick in Frederick County. It consists of the 32.60-mile (52.46 km) mainline as well as a 2.10-mile (3.38 km) spur that provides access to and from southbound I-495. I-270 is known as the Washington National Pike, and makes up the easternmost stretch of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Highway. Most of the southern part of the route in Montgomery County passes through suburban areas around Rockville and Gaithersburg that are home to many biotech firms. This portion of I-270 is up to twelve lanes wide and consists of a local-express lane configuration as well as high-occupancy vehicle lanes that are in operation during peak travel times. North of the Gaithersburg area, the road continues through the northern part of Montgomery County, passing Germantown and Clarksburg as a six- to eight-lane highway with a HOV lane in the northbound direction only. North of here, I-270 continues through rural areas into Frederick County and toward the city of Frederick as a four-lane freeway.

In order to preserve water quality in a partially developed area, the county imposed some restrictions on development (i.e. designation of a "Special Protection Area") in part of the Piney Branch sub-watershed in 1994. Following intensive land development after 1998, county scientists found that the special restrictions had only a limited effect, and water quality declined where development had occurred. [8]

Tributaries of Watts Branch

Major tributaries of Watts Branch include:

See also

Related Research Articles

Anacostia River tributary of the Potomac River in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

The Anacostia River is a river in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States. It flows from Prince George's County in Maryland into Washington, D.C., where it joins with the Washington Channel to empty into the Potomac River at Buzzard Point. It is approximately 8.7 miles (14.0 km) long. The name "Anacostia" derives from the area's early history as Nacotchtank, a settlement of Necostan or Anacostan Native Americans on the banks of the Anacostia River.

Sligo Creek stream in Maryland, United States of America

Sligo Creek is a free-flowing tributary of the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River in Maryland. The creek is approximately 9.1 miles (14.6 km) long, with a drainage area of about 11.6 square miles (30 km2).

Rock Creek (Potomac River tributary) tributary of the Potomac River in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Rock Creek is a free-flowing tributary of the Potomac River, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean via the Chesapeake Bay. The creek is 32.6 miles (52.5 km) long, with a drainage area of about 76.5 square miles (198 km2). The last quarter-mile of the creek is affected by tides.

Monocacy River river in Maryland, United States

The Monocacy River is a free-flowing left tributary to the Potomac River, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean via the Chesapeake Bay. The river is 58.5 miles (94.1 km) long, with a drainage area of about 744 square miles (1,930 km2). It is the largest Maryland tributary to the Potomac.

The Little Monocacy River is a 10.1-mile-long (16.3 km) tributary stream of the Potomac River. Despite its name, the stream does not feed into the Monocacy River. The Little Monocacy is located almost entirely in Montgomery County, Maryland, and enters the Potomac just downstream from where the Monocacy enters the Potomac. Its headwaters rise southwest of Comus, and most of its approximately 17-square-mile (44 km2) watershed is farmland and pasture (60.56%) or forested land (36.03%).

Mattawoman Creek

Mattawoman Creek is a 30.0-mile-long (48.3 km) coastal-plain tributary to the tidal Potomac River with a mouth at Indian Head, Maryland, 20 miles (32 km) downstream of Washington, D.C. It comprises a 23-mile (37 km) river flowing through Prince George's and Charles counties and a 7-mile (11 km) tidal-freshwater estuary in Charles County. About three-fourths of its 94-square-mile (240 km2) watershed lies in Charles County, with the remainder in Prince George's County immediately to the north.

Cabin John Creek

Cabin John Creek is a tributary stream of the Potomac River in Montgomery County, Maryland. The watershed covers an area of 26 square miles (67 km2). The headwaters of the creek originate in the city of Rockville, and the creek flows southward for 10.9 miles (17.5 km) to the Potomac River.

Little Falls Branch (Potomac River tributary) river in the United States of America

Little Falls Branch, a 3.8-mile-long (6.1 km) tributary stream of the Potomac River, is located in Montgomery County, Maryland. In the 19th century, the stream was also called Powder Mill Branch. It drains portions of Bethesda, Somerset, Friendship Heights, and the District of Columbia, flows under the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O), and empties into the Potomac at Little Falls rapids, which marks the upper end of the tidal Potomac.

Watts Branch (Anacostia River tributary)

Watts Branch is a tributary stream of the Anacostia River in Prince George's County, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

Hickey Run is a tributary stream of the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C..

Hawlings River is a 12.9-mile-long (20.8 km) tributary of the Patuxent River in Montgomery County, Maryland. The watershed covers an area of about 28 square miles (73 km2). The headwaters of the river originate in the area north of Laytonsville, and the river flows southeast, entering the Patuxent about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) below the Triadelphia Reservoir. Portions of Hawlings River flow through Rachel Carson Conservation Park and Hawlings River Stream Valley Park. Tributaries of the Hawlings River include Mount Zion Tributary, Reddy Branch, Olney Mill Tributary, Gregg Tributary, and James Creek. The river and its tributaries total about 98 miles (158 km) of streams.

Little Seneca Lake lake in Montgomery County, Maryland

Little Seneca Lake is a reservoir located near the Boyds community in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Broad Run is a tributary stream of the Potomac River in Montgomery County, Maryland. The headwaters of the stream originate west of the town of Poolesville, and the creek flows southward for 8.9 miles (14.3 km) to the Potomac River. The Broad Run and its watershed are almost entirely within the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve.

Little Seneca Creek stream in Montgomery County, Maryland

Little Seneca Creek is an 14.0-mile-long (22.5 km) stream in Montgomery County, Maryland, roughly 18 miles (29 km) northwest of Washington, D.C.

Muddy Branch tributary of the Potomac River in Maryland, United States

Muddy Branch is a tributary stream of the Potomac River in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, located about 14 miles (23 km) northwest of Washington, D.C.

Tuscarora Creek is a 7.7-mile-long (12.4 km) tributary of the Monocacy River in Frederick County, Maryland, in the United States.

Northwest Branch Anacostia River tributary of the Anacostia River River, in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, Maryland, United States

Northwest Branch Anacostia River is a 21.5-mile-long (34.6 km) free-flowing stream in Montgomery County and Prince George's County, Maryland. It is a tributary of the Anacostia River, which flows to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.

Northeast Branch Anacostia River tributary of the Anacostia River in Prince George’s County, Maryland, United States

Northeast Branch Anacostia River is a 3.2-mile-long (5.1 km) free-flowing stream in Prince George's County, Maryland. It is a tributary of the Anacostia River, which flows to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.

Pope Branch is a tributary stream of the Anacostia River in Washington, DC. The headwaters of the stream originate near Fort Davis Drive, and the branch flows roughly northwest for about 1 mile (1.6 km) to the Anacostia, which drains to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. The watershed area of Pope Branch is about 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2).

Tenmile Creek (Maryland) tributary stream of Little Seneca Creek, Maryland, United States

Tenmile Creek is a tributary stream of Little Seneca Creek in Montgomery County, Maryland.

References

  1. U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed August 15, 2011
  2. 1 2 City of Rockville, MD. Watts Branch Watershed Study and Management Plan Final Report. August 6, 2001.
  3. Montgomery County Department of Parks (2011). "Watts Branch Stream Valley Park."
  4. "Population Trends". City of Rockville, Maryland. 2012.
  5. Watts Branch Restoration Study: Task 1 Report (PDF) (Report). Rockville, MD: Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (MCDEP). March 2003.
  6. "Muddy Branch and Watts Branch Subwatersheds Inplementation Plan" (PDF). MCDEP. 2012.
  7. "Falls Reach". Active Watershed Construction Projects. MCDEP. Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  8. Special Protection Area Program Annual Report 2011 (PDF) (Report). MCDEP. 2013-04-08. AR-SPA-11.