Sediment Oxygen Consumption

map of Patuxent River

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legend "Good” areas are not necessarily of the quality needed by living resources.
*Status is relative to other similar areas in the Bay.
**Trends are significant at p < 0.01.

The map above shows status and trends at four stations in the Lower Patuxent River for (observed data) sediment oxygen consumption (SOC) fluxes (observed data).

Sediment Oxygen Consumption (SOC)
The current status (average of 1996-1998 data) of sediment oxygen consumption (SOC) fluxes at the four SONE stations in the Patuxent River is illustrated above. Ideally, we want to see high SOC rates because high SOC rates mean that sediments are using dissolved Oxygen (DO). When dissolved oxygen concentrations are high, SOC rates are usually high. Since restoration of increased dissolved oxygen in benthic waters is a goal of the management program, we have come to treat high SOC rates as an indication of healthy sediments in aerobic (oxygen present) environments. Among the four SONE stations in the Patuxent river, two had SOC rates in the poor range, and two were in the good range. Buena Vista, Marsh Point (MRPT) and Broom Island (BRIS) are in the deep-water channel, which are near nutrient sources and typically have low bottom DO. The station most upriver and happens to be closest to nutrient sources has a status of good (Buena Vista [BUVA]). This is the result of a well mixed water column where surface DO reaches the bottom to increase DO levels in deeper waters.

For more information, please contact Renee Karrh at (410) 260-8628.

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