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DNR Surveys Western Branch, A Special Patuxent River Tributary
UPPER MARLBORO, MD — Earlier this week, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologists surveyed the inimitable Western Branch, a major tributary to the Patuxent River.
“In order to protect the bay, we need to protect the streams,” said Ron Klauda, DNR’s Director of Non-tidal Monitoring.
Nearly every person in Maryland lives within one mile of a headwater stream. Successful protection and restoration of Maryland’s rivers and the Chesapeake Bay require protection and restoration of the thousands of miles of headwater streams that drain our mountains and upland areas.
A “stronghold watershed”, Western Branch is one of a few unique watersheds in the State with special ecological landmarks. “Stronghold watersheds” are like no other places in Maryland because of the species that live within the watershed. Three state-endangered fish species, including the stripeback darter (which is found nowhere else in the State) live in Western Branch. The Western Branch watershed ranks 8th out of 84 watersheds in Maryland for its unique contribution to aquatic biodiversity.
With the help of more than 700 Stream Waders, a volunteer stream sampling program sponsored by DNR, the Maryland Biological Stream Survey monitors the health of more than 10,000 miles of streams to provide critical information needed to protect and restore our aquatic resources, including the Chesapeake Bay.
Since their inception in 2000, Stream Waders have been helping to increase the density of sampling sites that DNR is using to assess stream health and educate the public about the importance of these waterways. In order to become a Stream Wader, volunteers participate in a one day training session and then spend about two more days during the March-April sampling window collecting aquatic invertebrates from stream beds across the state. For more information visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/streams/mbss.
October 4, 2007
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov