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The Sand Spring Run Watershed (SSRW) is a small, yet a very important drainage basin (1522 ha) located in the Allegheny Mountains of western Maryland in the west central watershed of the Chesapeake Bay (see figure below). SSRW consists of mixed land-use types, that include:
By monitoring salt applications and mobility the project can characterise the impacts of different land-use type on the overall stream system. As a watershed is an integrated system of stream and drainage components, all the impacts of the different land-use types of the entire watershed become linked. This linking demonstrates the importance of the SSRW as impacts within the upper reaches of a watershed are translated downstream and will eventually impact lower watershed regions.
Because of the hierarchical nesting of watersheds, this study could be ‘scaled-up’ in future years to begin to understand the impact of deicing salt on the whole of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and on the water quality of the Bay itself.