Patuxent River

Patuxent River

Overview
The Patuxent River is a tributary
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 of the Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. It lies off the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay's drainage basin covers in the District of Columbia and parts of six states: New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West...

 in the state of Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

. There are three main river drainages for central Maryland: the Potomac River
Potomac River
The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

 to the west passing through Washington D.C., the Patapsco River
Patapsco River
The Patapsco River is a river in central Maryland which flows into Chesapeake Bay. The river's tidal portion forms the harbor for the city of Baltimore...

 to the northeast passing through Baltimore, and the Patuxent River between the two. The 957 square miles (2,479 km²) Patuxent watershed
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

 had a rapidly growing population of 590,769 in 2000. It is the longest river to be located entirely within the state of Maryland.
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Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Patuxent River is a tributary
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 of the Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. It lies off the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay's drainage basin covers in the District of Columbia and parts of six states: New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West...

 in the state of Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

. There are three main river drainages for central Maryland: the Potomac River
Potomac River
The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

 to the west passing through Washington D.C., the Patapsco River
Patapsco River
The Patapsco River is a river in central Maryland which flows into Chesapeake Bay. The river's tidal portion forms the harbor for the city of Baltimore...

 to the northeast passing through Baltimore, and the Patuxent River between the two. The 957 square miles (2,479 km²) Patuxent watershed
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

 had a rapidly growing population of 590,769 in 2000. It is the longest river to be located entirely within the state of Maryland. It is the largest river whose watershed lies completely in the state of Maryland.

Geography


The river source, 115 miles (185 km) from the Chesapeake, is in the hills of the Maryland Piedmont
Piedmont (United States)
The Piedmont is a plateau region located in the eastern United States between the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the main Appalachian Mountains, stretching from New Jersey in the north to central Alabama in the south. The Piedmont province is a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian division...

 near the intersection of four counties - Howard
Howard County, Maryland
-2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*62.2% White*17.5% Black*0.3% Native American*14.4% Asian*0.0% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*3.6% Two or more races*2.0% Other races*5.8% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

, Frederick
Frederick County, Maryland
Frederick County is a county located in the western part of the U.S. state of Maryland, bordering the southern border of Pennsylvania and the northeastern border of Virginia. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 233,385....

, Montgomery
Montgomery County, Maryland
Montgomery County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland, situated just to the north of Washington, D.C., and southwest of the city of Baltimore. It is one of the most affluent counties in the United States, and has the highest percentage of residents over 25 years of age who hold post-graduate...

 and Carroll
Carroll County, Maryland
Carroll County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland. In 2010, its population was 167,134. It was named for Charles Carroll of Carrollton , signer of the American Declaration of Independence. Its county seat is Westminster....

, and only 0.6 mi (1.0 km) from Parr's Spring, the source of the south fork of the Patapsco River
Patapsco River
The Patapsco River is a river in central Maryland which flows into Chesapeake Bay. The river's tidal portion forms the harbor for the city of Baltimore...

. Flowing in a generally southeastward direction, the Patuxent crosses the urbanized corridor between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, and opens up into a navigable tidal estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 near the colonial seaport of Queen Anne
Queen Anne, Prince George's County, Maryland
Queen Anne in Prince George's County, Maryland is a former seaport on the Patuxent River in Maryland.-Geography:Queen Anne is located at 38°53'55" North, 76°40'42" West . Most of the town's former waterfront area is now part of Patuxent River Park, owned and operated by the Maryland-National...

 in Prince George's County, Maryland
Prince George's County, Maryland
Prince George's County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland, immediately north, east, and south of Washington, DC. As of 2010, it has a population of 863,420 and is the wealthiest African-American majority county in the nation....

, just southeast of Bowie, Maryland
Bowie, Maryland
Bowie is a city in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The population was 54,727 at the 2010 census. Bowie has grown from a small railroad stop to the largest municipality in Prince George's County, and the fifth most populous city and third largest city by area in the state of...

, finding the Chesapeake Bay 52 miles (84 km) later. The fifty-two mile-long tidal estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 is never wider than 2.3 miles (3.7 km).

It marks the boundary between Montgomery
Montgomery County, Maryland
Montgomery County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland, situated just to the north of Washington, D.C., and southwest of the city of Baltimore. It is one of the most affluent counties in the United States, and has the highest percentage of residents over 25 years of age who hold post-graduate...

, Prince George's
Prince George's County, Maryland
Prince George's County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland, immediately north, east, and south of Washington, DC. As of 2010, it has a population of 863,420 and is the wealthiest African-American majority county in the nation....

, Charles
Charles County, Maryland
Charles County is a county in the south central portion of the U.S. state of Maryland.As of 2010, the population was 146,551. Its county seat is La Plata. This county was named for Charles Calvert , third Baron Baltimore....

 and St. Mary's
Saint Mary's County, Maryland
Saint Mary's County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland.As of 2010, the population was 105,151. Its county seat is Leonardtown...

 counties on the west and Howard
Howard County, Maryland
-2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*62.2% White*17.5% Black*0.3% Native American*14.4% Asian*0.0% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*3.6% Two or more races*2.0% Other races*5.8% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

, Anne Arundel
Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Anne Arundel County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland. It is named for Anne Arundell , a member of the ancient family of Arundells in Cornwall, England and the wife of Cæcilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore. Its county seat is Annapolis, which is also the capital of the state...

, and Calvert
Calvert County, Maryland
Calvert County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland. It occupies the Calvert Peninsula which is bordered on the east by the Chesapeake Bay and on the west by the Patuxent River. Calvert County is part of the Southern Maryland region. Calvert County's residents are among the highest...

 counties on the east. The Chesapeake estuary's deepest point, 130 feet (40 m) below sea level, is in the lower Patuxent.

The Little Patuxent River, the Middle Patuxent River, and the Western Branch (in Prince Georges County) are the three largest tributaries. The Middle Patuxent flows into the Little Patuxent just upstream from the historic Savage Mill
Savage Mill
The Savage Mill is a historic cotton mill complex in Savage, Maryland, which has been turned into a complex of shops and restaurants. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. It is located in the Savage Mill Historic District...

 in Savage, Maryland
Savage, Maryland
Savage is a historic town located in Howard County, Maryland, about south of Baltimore and north of Washington, D.C. It is situated close to the city of Laurel and to the planned community of Columbia.A rich vein of American industrial history lies in Savage...

. The Little Patuxent then joins the Patuxent just northeast of Bowie, Maryland
Bowie, Maryland
Bowie is a city in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The population was 54,727 at the 2010 census. Bowie has grown from a small railroad stop to the largest municipality in Prince George's County, and the fifth most populous city and third largest city by area in the state of...

. The Middle Patuxent flows 23.9 miles (38.5 km) through the middle of Howard County, while the Little Patuxent flows 37.9 miles (61 km) through northeast and southeast Howard County and western Anne Arundel County.

History


Indians have lived along the Patuxent River since at least 6500 BC. An archaeological dig at Pig Point
Pig Point
Pig Point is a point which forms the south side of the entrance to North Bay, Prince Olav Harbor, on the north coast of South Georgia. Probably named by DI personnel who charted Prince Olav Harbor in 1929....

 (just north of Jug Bay at the end of Wrighton Road) uncovered the oldest known artifacts in the Mid Atlantic states, including pottery, arrow and spear points and remnants of wigwams, fires and foodways. The site was probably a center of trade in the region and has one of the best unbroken archaeological records on the East Coast. The Pig Point site includes the oldest structures ever found in Maryland, wigwam
Wigwam
A wigwam or wickiup is a domed room dwelling used by certain Native American tribes. The term wickiup is generally used to label these kinds of dwellings in American Southwest and West. Wigwam is usually applied to these structures in the American Northeast...

 post holes dating to the 3rd century.

The Patuxent River was first named ("Pawtuxunt") on the detailed map resulting from the 1608 voyage upriver by Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown was a settlement in the Colony of Virginia. Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 14, 1607 , it was the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States, following several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke...

 settler John Smith
John Smith of Jamestown
Captain John Smith Admiral of New England was an English soldier, explorer, and author. He was knighted for his services to Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania and friend Mózes Székely...

.
Captain Smith got as far as the rough vicinity of the present-day Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary (Lyons Creek) area, 40 miles (64.4 km) from the Chesapeake on what is now the Anne Arundel - Calvert - Prince George's County tripoint.
This was most likely the second visit by Europeans to the Patuxent, as in June 1588 a small Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 expedition under Vicente Gonzalez is believed to have anchored for the night in the Patuxent mouth by Kent Mountford.
By the mid and late 17th century respectively, colonists
Colony
In politics and history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception....

 spread upriver to Mt. Calvert and Billingsley Point, two 18th century mansions 44 miles (71 km) upriver from the Chesapeake that are today part of Patuxent River Park. By the early 18th century, the Snowden iron ore furnace (also known as Patuxent Furnace) just southeast of Laurel, Maryland
Laurel, Maryland
Laurel is a city in northern Prince George's County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County, Maryland, United States, located midway between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Incorporated in 1870, the city maintains a historic district including its Main Street...

,
was shipping "pig iron
Pig iron
Pig iron is the intermediate product of smelting iron ore with a high-carbon fuel such as coke, usually with limestone as a flux. Charcoal and anthracite have also been used as fuel...

" downriver from the current vicinity of the 1783 Montpelier Mansion
Montpelier Mansion
Located south of Laurel in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States, Montpelier Mansion is a five-part, Georgian style home most likely constructed between 1781 and 1785. It has also been known as the Snowden-Long House, New Birmingham, or simply Montpelier...

, also part of Patuxent River Park.

In August 1814, Commodore Joshua Barney
Joshua Barney
Joshua Barney was a commodore in the United States Navy, born in Baltimore, Maryland, who served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.-Revolutionary War:...

 and his Chesapeake Bay Flotilla
Chesapeake Bay Flotilla
For two years the United States had been fighting with Great Britain during War of 1812. The British fleet was marauding the Chesapeake Bay when Joshua Barney, a naval officer of the American Revolutionary War, assembled a motley collection of barges and gunboats known generally as the Chesapeake...

 were trapped in the Patuxent by the British fleet
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 under Admiral Sir George Cockburn
George Cockburn
Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Cockburn, 10th Baronet GCB was a British naval commander of the late 18th through the mid-19th centuries. He held important commands during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 and eventually rose to become Admiral of the Fleet and First Sea Lord.-Naval...

. To keep them from British hands, Barney's men ignited the magazines
Magazine (artillery)
Magazine is the name for an item or place within which ammunition is stored. It is taken from the Arabic word "makahazin" meaning "warehouse".-Ammunition storage areas:...

 of his ships in the four mile (6 km) stretch above Pig Point (44 miles (70.8 km) upriver from the Chesapeake and named after Snowden's "pig iron") when the British approached. The British then launched their attack on Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, from their warships in the Patuxent at Benedict
Benedict, Maryland
Benedict, Maryland is a small unincorporated town in Charles County, Maryland, located on the Patuxent River in Southern Maryland, USA.-History:...

. 22 miles (35 km) From there, the troops marched through, Nottingham, Upper Marlboro
Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Upper Marlboro is a town in and the county seat of Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The live-in population of the town core proper was only 648 at the 2000 census, although Greater Upper Marlboro is many times larger....

, Bladensburg
Bladensburg, Maryland
Bladensburg is a town in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The population was 7,661 at the 2000 census.Bladensburg is from central Washington, DC...

 and on to Washington.

Economy and commerce


Tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 farming dominated the Patuxent's economy for the two centuries following settlement, with about sixty percent of Maryland's tobacco coming from the Patuxent valley by the late 18th century.

Destruction of the plantations by the British and of the soil by centuries of tobacco farming brought the mid and lower Patuxent valley into a period of decline that would last until the 1930s, when there were fewer residents in the Patuxent's Calvert County than there were in the 1840s, and only a few hundred more than in the first Calvert County census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

 in 1790.

The Patuxent was plied by regular steamship service, mostly from the Weems Line, from the 1820s to the 1920s, replacing the schooner
Schooner
A schooner is a type of sailing vessel characterized by the use of fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts with the forward mast being no taller than the rear masts....

s and sailing packets that had for the previous centuries served the river's many landings and docks along the 53 miles (85 km) navigable reach.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission
Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission
Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission provides safe drinking water and wastewater treatment for Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland. It was established on May 1, 1918. It is the eighth largest water and wastewater utility in the United States. The WSSC serves about 1.8 million...

 constructed two dams on the main branch in the mid-20th century. Brighton Dam was constructed 96 miles (154 km) from the Chesapeake in 1943, impounding the waters of Triadelphia Reservoir
Triadelphia Reservoir
Triadelphia Reservoir, sometimes called Tridelphia Reservoir or Tridelphia Lake, is located on the Patuxent River, in Howard County and Montgomery County, Maryland near the town of Brookeville. The reservoir was created in 1943 by the construction of the Brighton Dam on the Patuxent. It has a...

; in 1952 the T. Howard Duckett Dam was constructed 14 miles (23 km) further downstream, near Laurel, thus creating Rocky Gorge Reservoir
Rocky Gorge Reservoir
Rocky Gorge Reservoir is located on the Patuxent River in Howard County, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, Maryland near the town of Burtonsville. The reservoir was created in 1952 by the construction of the T. Howard Duckett Dam on the Patuxent. The dam is visible from Interstate 95...

. The land surrounding the two reservoirs is administered by the WSSC, creating a reserve of 4400 acres (18 km²) forested accessible to the public for horseback riding, hunting, fishing, and picnicking in limited areas. The state of Maryland classifies the T. Howard Duckett Dam as "high hazard" because large releases of water flood areas of North Laurel.

Including boating on the main river and the reservoirs, the impact that recreation in natural settings now has on the river's economy is obvious. The Patuxent Naval Air Station at the mouth of the river has continued to grow over past decades, providing along with tourism the main economic engine of the lower river valley which includes the popular boating center of Solomons, Maryland
Solomons, Maryland
Solomons is a community and census-designated place in Calvert County, Maryland, United States. The population was 1,536 at the 2000 census...

.

Environmental concerns


The Middle and Little Patuxent watersheds include nearly all of Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland
Columbia is a planned community that consists of ten self-contained villages, located in Howard County, Maryland, United States. It began with the idea that a city could enhance its residents' quality of life. Creator and developer James W. Rouse saw the new community in terms of human values, not...

, including its downtown urban Lake Kittamaqundi
Lake Kittamaqundi
Lake Kittamaqundi is a reservoir located in Columbia, Maryland in the vicinity of the Mall in Columbia. It is also adjacent to the Rouse Company's offices and visible from US-29.The lake was given its name after the first Indian settlement in Howard County...

 and Wilde Lake. Columbia is a large planned community in Howard County that opened in 1967. Columbia's major downtown roadway is called Little Patuxent Parkway, and Maryland Route 175
Maryland Route 175
-Annapolis Road:MD 175 begins at MD 3, just south of the latter's northern terminus at Interstate 97, known as Annapolis Road. It runs west as a two-lane suburban highway, passing through local neighborhoods and south of Arundel High School before widening into a four-lane suburban arterial south...

 in East Columbia was known as the Patuxent Parkway until May 2006, when it was renamed for Columbia's founder, the late James Rouse, and his wife, Patty. It was the largely unchecked erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

 from this late 1960s and 1970s building spree that contributed the bulk of the Patuxent River's highest and most damaging sediment
Sediment
Sediment is naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently transported by the action of fluids such as wind, water, or ice, and/or by the force of gravity acting on the particle itself....

, siltation
Siltation
Siltation is the pollution of water by fine particulate terrestrial clastic material, with a particle size dominated by silt or clay. It refers both to the increased concentration of suspended sediments, and to the increased accumulation of fine sediments on bottoms where they are undesirable...

, and pollution
Water pollution
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies . Water pollution occurs when pollutants are discharged directly or indirectly into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds....

 levels to date downstream. This in turn led to a nearly complete destruction of a once thriving seafood
Seafood
Seafood is any form of marine life regarded as food by humans. Seafoods include fish, molluscs , crustaceans , echinoderms . Edible sea plants, such as some seaweeds and microalgae, are also seafood, and are widely eaten around the world, especially in Asia...

 industry along the brackish portion of the river.

"The Patuxent River has known no greater friend, advocate and defender than Bernie Fowler
Bernie Fowler
Clyde Bernard Fowler , is a former Maryland State Senator and County Commissioner from Calvert County, Maryland...

." Fowler, as an early-1970s Calvert County Commissioner, led the way in a lawsuit filed by downriver Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's counties against upriver counties. The lawsuit forced the state, the upriver counties, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enact pollution control measures. Between 1985 and 2005, the Patuxent saw a 26% decrease in nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

, a 46% decrease in phosphorus
Phosphorus
Phosphorus is the chemical element that has the symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidized state, as inorganic phosphate rocks...

, and a 35% reduction in sediment, despite urban areas
Urbanization
Urbanization, urbanisation or urban drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. The United Nations projected that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008....

 increasing to 31% of the watershed by 2002. Of the Chesapeake's major tributaries, the Patuxent is the only one having most of its harmful phosphorus and nitrogen nutrient overloads coming from urban runoff
Urban runoff
Urban runoff is surface runoff of rainwater created by urbanization. This runoff is a major source of water pollution in many parts of the United States and other urban communities worldwide.-Overview:...

. The river's other two largest contributors, point source
Point source
A point source is a localised, relatively small source of something.Point source may also refer to:*Point source , a localised source of pollution**Point source water pollution, water pollution with a localized source...

s (industrial
Industrial wastewater treatment
Industrial wastewater treatment covers the mechanisms and processes used to treat waters that have been contaminated in some way by anthropogenic industrial or commercial activities prior to its release into the environment or its re-use....

, sewage
Sewage
Sewage is water-carried waste, in solution or suspension, that is intended to be removed from a community. Also known as wastewater, it is more than 99% water and is characterized by volume or rate of flow, physical condition, chemical constituents and the bacteriological organisms that it contains...

, etc.) and the declining (24%) agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 areas, contribute less of the nutrient load. Forest
Forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

ed areas account for 43% of the watershed.

In 2004 Fred Tutman became the first Riverkeeper
Riverkeeper
Riverkeeper is an environmental non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the Hudson River and its tributaries, as well as the watersheds that provide New York City with its drinking water...

 for the Patuxent.
His role has been to protect and improve the quality of the river's water and watershed.

Over the past 50 years, nationally-recognized land preservation efforts in this part of Maryland have saved tens of thousands of acres from the Baltimore-Washington bedroom community sprawl
Urban sprawl
Urban sprawl, also known as suburban sprawl, is a multifaceted concept, which includes the spreading outwards of a city and its suburbs to its outskirts to low-density and auto-dependent development on rural land, high segregation of uses Urban sprawl, also known as suburban sprawl, is a...

. The southern half of the U.S. Army's Fort Meade was added to the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
The Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is a biological research center in Maryland. It is one of only 17 research centers in the United States run by the U.S. Geological Survey. This USGS research center is located on the U.S...

, which, at 12300 acres (50 km²), is the second largest contiguous public park-refuge within 30 miles (48.3 km) of either Washington or Baltimore. It is located midway between these two cities. The contiguous public area of 8575 acres (35 km²) centered on Jug Bay, 42 miles (68 km) upriver from the Chesapeake, form the fifth largest such Baltimore-DC preserve and largest tidewater one and consist of the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
The Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary is located along the tidal Patuxent River in southern Maryland. It was established in 1985 and is operated by the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks. It includes more than of tidal freshwater wetlands, forests, meadows and fields...

, the Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Jug Bay component of the Patuxent River Park. The 6600 acres (27 km²) Patuxent River State Park in the uppermost part of the basin is the seventh largest.

Bridges


The present-day bridges over the Patuxent River are from upstream to downstream connecting Montgomery County and Howard County are:
  • Long Corner Road near Damascus
    Damascus, Maryland
    Damascus is a census-designated place and an unincorporated area in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States.In the early part of the 20th century, there was an incorporated municipality there for about a quarter century, but it no longer exists...

  • Mullinix Mill Road
  • MD 94 Annapolis Rock Road/Woodbine Road
  • Hipsley Mill Road near Etchison
  • Howard Chapel Road
  • MD 97 Georgia Ave/Roxbury Mills Road several miles north of Brookeville
    Brookeville, Maryland
    Brookeville is a town located twenty miles north of Washington, D.C. and two miles north of Olney in northeastern Montgomery County, Maryland. Brookeville was settled by Quakers late in the 18th century, and was formally incorporated as a town in 1808...

  • Brighton Dam Road at the mouth of the Tridelphia Reservoir
  • Haviland Mill Road in Brinklow
    Brinklow, Maryland
    Brinklow is an unincorporated community in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. Brinklow is located on Maryland Route 650 northeast of Olney. Brinklow has a post office with ZIP code 20862....

  • Mink Hollow Road
  • MD 108 Ashton Road/Clarksville Pike between Ashton
    Ashton, Maryland
    Ashton is an unincorporated area in Montgomery County, Maryland. The commercial center of Ashton lies at the junction of Route 108 and New Hampshire Avenue ....

     and Clarksville
    Clarksville, Maryland
    Clarksville is both the name of an unincorporated community and the name associated with Districts 4 & 5 in Howard County, the third wealthiest county in the United States according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The community is named for William Clark, a farmer who owned much of the land on which the...

     (Snell's Bridge)
  • Ednor Road/Browns Bridge Road (Brown's Bridge)
  • US 29 Columbia Pike just north of Burtonsville
    Burtonsville, Maryland
    Burtonsville is a census-designated place and an unincorporated area in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States.-History:In colonial times, the area was referred to as the Patuxent Hundred and later the Eastern Branch Hundred, a community comprising about 100 inhabitants...

    , crossing Rocky Gorge Reservoir
    Rocky Gorge Reservoir
    Rocky Gorge Reservoir is located on the Patuxent River in Howard County, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, Maryland near the town of Burtonsville. The reservoir was created in 1952 by the construction of the T. Howard Duckett Dam on the Patuxent. The dam is visible from Interstate 95...


Bridges connecting Prince George's County and Howard County are:
  • Interstate 95
    Interstate 95
    Interstate 95 is the main highway on the East Coast of the United States, running parallel to the Atlantic Ocean from Maine to Florida and serving some of the most populated urban areas in the country, including Boston, Providence, New Haven, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore,...

     at the T. Howard Duckett Dam
  • MD 216 7th Street, connecting the city of Laurel
    Laurel, Maryland
    Laurel is a city in northern Prince George's County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County, Maryland, United States, located midway between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Incorporated in 1870, the city maintains a historic district including its Main Street...

     with Howard County
  • US 1 Washington Boulevard (southbound traffic and 2nd Street (northbound traffic), also connecting the city of Laurel
    Laurel, Maryland
    Laurel is a city in northern Prince George's County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County, Maryland, United States, located midway between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Incorporated in 1870, the city maintains a historic district including its Main Street...

     with Howard County

Bridges connecting Prince George's County with Anne Arundel County are:
  • The Rt. 198 bridge in Laurel
    Laurel, Maryland
    Laurel is a city in northern Prince George's County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County, Maryland, United States, located midway between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Incorporated in 1870, the city maintains a historic district including its Main Street...

  • The nearly adjacent Brock Bridge Rd. and Baltimore-Washington Parkway
    Baltimore-Washington Parkway
    The Baltimore–Washington Parkway is a highway in the U.S. state of Maryland, running southwest from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. The road begins at an interchange with U.S. Route 50 and Maryland Route 201 near Cheverly in Prince George's County at the D.C...

     bridges in southeastern Laurel
    Laurel, Maryland
    Laurel is a city in northern Prince George's County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County, Maryland, United States, located midway between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Incorporated in 1870, the city maintains a historic district including its Main Street...

  • Duval Bridge (not open to public vehicular traffic) in the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
    Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
    The Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is a biological research center in Maryland. It is one of only 17 research centers in the United States run by the U.S. Geological Survey. This USGS research center is located on the U.S...

  • The railroad bridge north of Bowie State University
    Bowie State University
    Bowie State University , is a public university located on 355½ acres in unincorporated Prince George's County, Maryland, United States, north of the suburban city of Bowie. Bowie State is part of the University System of Maryland...

  • Priest Bridge (Rt. 3) between Bowie
    Bowie, Maryland
    Bowie is a city in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The population was 54,727 at the 2010 census. Bowie has grown from a small railroad stop to the largest municipality in Prince George's County, and the fifth most populous city and third largest city by area in the state of...

     and Crofton
    Crofton, Maryland
    Crofton is a census-designated place and planned community in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, United States. Established in 1964, Crofton held its 40th birthday celebration in 2004....

  • John Hanson Highway bridge (US Rt. 50) northwest of Davidsonville
    Davidsonville, Maryland
    Davidsonville is an unincorporated community in central Anne Arundel County, Maryland, USA. It is a semi-rural community composed mostly of farms and suburban-like developments and is a good example of an "exurb." Davidsonville has relatively little commercial development and no high-density housing...

  • Governor Bridge northwest of Davidsonville
    Davidsonville, Maryland
    Davidsonville is an unincorporated community in central Anne Arundel County, Maryland, USA. It is a semi-rural community composed mostly of farms and suburban-like developments and is a good example of an "exurb." Davidsonville has relatively little commercial development and no high-density housing...

  • Central Ave. (Rt. 214) Bridge just northeast of Queen Anne
    Queen Anne, Prince George's County, Maryland
    Queen Anne in Prince George's County, Maryland is a former seaport on the Patuxent River in Maryland.-Geography:Queen Anne is located at 38°53'55" North, 76°40'42" West . Most of the town's former waterfront area is now part of Patuxent River Park, owned and operated by the Maryland-National...

  • Queen Anne Bridge (closed in 2007 to all use) in Queen Anne
    Queen Anne, Prince George's County, Maryland
    Queen Anne in Prince George's County, Maryland is a former seaport on the Patuxent River in Maryland.-Geography:Queen Anne is located at 38°53'55" North, 76°40'42" West . Most of the town's former waterfront area is now part of Patuxent River Park, owned and operated by the Maryland-National...

  • Hills Bridge (Pennsylvania Avenue
    Pennsylvania Avenue
    Pennsylvania Avenue is a street in Washington, D.C. that joins the White House and the United States Capitol. Called "America's Main Street", it is the location of official parades and processions, as well as protest marches...

    -Rt. 4) east of Upper Marlboro
    Upper Marlboro, Maryland
    Upper Marlboro is a town in and the county seat of Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The live-in population of the town core proper was only 648 at the 2000 census, although Greater Upper Marlboro is many times larger....


The only bridge connecting Calvert County
Calvert County, Maryland
Calvert County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland. It occupies the Calvert Peninsula which is bordered on the east by the Chesapeake Bay and on the west by the Patuxent River. Calvert County is part of the Southern Maryland region. Calvert County's residents are among the highest...

 and Charles County
Charles County, Maryland
Charles County is a county in the south central portion of the U.S. state of Maryland.As of 2010, the population was 146,551. Its county seat is La Plata. This county was named for Charles Calvert , third Baron Baltimore....

 is the
  • Benedict Bridge (Rt. 231)in Benedict
    Benedict, Maryland
    Benedict, Maryland is a small unincorporated town in Charles County, Maryland, located on the Patuxent River in Southern Maryland, USA.-History:...

    .

The only bridge connecting Calvert County
Calvert County, Maryland
Calvert County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland. It occupies the Calvert Peninsula which is bordered on the east by the Chesapeake Bay and on the west by the Patuxent River. Calvert County is part of the Southern Maryland region. Calvert County's residents are among the highest...

 and St. Mary's County is:
  • Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge (Rt. 4) in Solomons
    Solomons, Maryland
    Solomons is a community and census-designated place in Calvert County, Maryland, United States. The population was 1,536 at the 2000 census...

    .

External links