Severn River Watershed
The Severn River Watershed is situated in the central portion of the County. It includes the communities of Oyster Harbor, Highland Beach, Bay Ridge, Annapolis Roads, Eastport, City of Annapolis, Tidewater Colony, Severn Forest, Epping Forest, Sherwood Forest, Herald Harbor, Cranberry Woods, Crownsville, Millersville, Gambrills, Seven Oaks, Meade Heights, The Provinces, Stillmeadow, Quarterfield Farm, Oakdale, Mill Race, Shipleys Choice, Chartwell, Fair Winds, Old Severna Park, Pine Bluff, Winchester, Capetown, Baydale Estates, Pendennis Mount, Pleasant Plains and Whitehall Manor. In 1971, the Severn River was designated as one of Maryland’s Scenic Rivers.
The drainage area of the Severn River Watershed is approximately 44,248 acres. It contains approximately 152 miles of streams draining 80 sub-watersheds. Major tributaries include Severn Run, Maynadeir Creek, Mill Creek, Weems Creek, Whitehall Creek, Spa Creek, Back Creek. Severn Run and its tributaries make up 63.95 miles of the stream miles in the Severn River Watershed.
Many unique and ecologically important natural features can be found within the borders of this watershed. Within the state of Maryland, Anne Arundel County possesses the highest quantity of freshwater bogs, which qualify as wetlands of special state concern. Bogs within the Severn River Watershed include Arden Bog, Arlington Echo, Cypress Creek, Lakewood, Carrollton, Forked Creek and Sullivan’s Cove. These areas are important as they serve as water filters, improving water quality within the watershed, and creating habitat for rare, threatened and endangered flora and fauna. Jabez Branch, the largest tributary to Severn Run, is the only Coastal Plain stream that supports a naturally reproducing population of brook trout. Jabez Branch has a series of springs and dense forest cover that provide the cool water necessary for brook trout reproduction.
Land use in the watershed is diverse. Portions are highly developed, containing the City of Annapolis, shopping centers, subdivisions, and industrial parks. The single most dominant land use is single family residential, at all densities, at 38%. Forest is next, at 32%. Fifteen percent of the watershed is taken up with commercial and industrial property and the City of Annapolis. Impervious surfaces represented by roads, building footprints, parking lots and other hard surfaces cover approximately 19% (~8,269 acres) of the Severn River watershed.
Major landmarks include US Naval Academy, Annapolis Mall, Millersville Landfill and Resource Recovery Facility, Severn Run Natural Environment Area, Chartwell Country Club and USNA Golf Club. In addition several County Parks are within the borders of the Severn River watershed including Provinces Park, Randazzo Park, Arnold Park, and portions of Broadneck Park and Sandy Point State Park.
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 Severn River 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 organizations that work to protect the Severn River watershed:
Severn River Association
Severn River Commission
Spa Creek Conservancy
Scenic Rivers Land Trust
Weems Creek Conservancy
Chesapeake Ecology Center
Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy