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Little Patuxent Watershed

Little Pax Watershed

Watershed Description

The Little Patuxent watershed is in the northwestern portion of Anne Arundel County. It includes the communities of Annapolis Junction, Russett, Fort Meade, Piney Orchard, Four Seasons, Waugh Chapel, Crofton, Crofton Village, Crofton Mews, Walden, Charing Cross and Saddleridge.

The watershed is part of Maryland’s Patuxent River basin. The Patuxent River basin drains approximately 900 square miles of land, including portions of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Charles, Howard, Prince George’s, Montgomery, and St. Mary’s Counties.

The Anne Arundel County portion of the Little Patuxent watershed encompasses 27,752 acres and contains approximately 181 miles of streams, draining 21 sub-watersheds. The 21 sub-watersheds range in size from approximately 480 acres to 2,675 acres. The Little Patuxent watershed is made up of numerous tributaries draining directly to the Little Patuxent River, as well as three major tributaries: Dorsey Run, which originates in Howard County, Rogue Harbor Branch, and Towsers Branch.

Land use throughout the watershed is diverse, with sub-watersheds to the north (Dorsey Run) dominated by industrial/commercial landuse, sub-watersheds to the west (Patuxent Wildlife Refuge) dominated by forests, and sub-watersheds to the east and south dominated by residential and mixed (commercial/industrial) land uses including the Fort Meade Military Reservation.

In addition, the watershed contains several major transportation corridors including the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (I295) and Maryland Route 32, Route 175 and Route 3 highway corridors, as well as the Maryland Area Rail Commuter (MARC) Penn line and Camden line railway corridors. Impervious surfaces represented by roads, building footprints, parking lots and other hard surfaces cover approximately 16% (~4,347 acres) of the Little Patuxent watershed.

Watershed Assessment

The Watershed Protection and Restoration Program utilizes a watershed based approach to restoring and protecting our waterways. Assessments are conducted on each of the 12 primary watersheds to evaluate water conditions, establish priorities and goals for improvement, and take actions designed to restore or protect water quality.

A comprehensive watershed assessment for the Little Patuxent watershed has been completed. The reports include a discussion of the water quality problems and sources of pollution and strategies for improving the water quality in the watershed. Click here to read more.

Local Watershed Organizations

Successful conservation and preservation of Anne Arundel County's watersheds takes teamwork. Here is a list of various organizations that work to protect the Little Patuxent watershed:

Patuxent Riverkeeper
Scenic Rivers Land Trust
Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy


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