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Little Paint Branch Subwatershed


The Little Paint Branch subwatershed is in the easternmost area of the County. It flows into Prince George’s County, where it joins Paint Branch, which then continues to the Anacostia River.

The Little Paint Branch subwatershed transitions between the Piedmont ecoregion and the Coastal Plain ecoregion, and its biological community (fish and bug populations) reflects this transition. Streams in the Piedmont generally are faster flowing on steeper slopes with a more rocky bottom. Coastal Plain streams generally are slower and more meandering, with a sandier substrate. Stream resource conditions range from poor in the lower tributaries of Little Paint Branch to fair in the middle reaches below Greencastle Road to good above Greencastle Road. 

Image of the stream and trees around Little Paint Watershed.


A Journey Through Little Paint Branch

The Little Paint Branch subwatershed is also near the major transportation corridor of Route 29, one of the County's major suburban corridors. The corridor provides many opportunities for jobs and housing and contains many of the County's important industrial/commercial complexes. Much of this subwatershed has received regional stormwater controls to mitigate the effects of high-density land uses, particularly above Briggs Chaney Road.

The lower reaches in Little Paint Branch were developed prior to requirements for stormwater control. The high densities and lack of available land on which to place remedial facilities will make it difficult to mitigate the degraded conditions in the lower tributaries.

Maintaining and improving conditions in the Little Paint Branch is an important component of the overall Anacostia restoration effort, particularly of the efforts to improve water quality and protect waters from the effects of high-intensity land uses. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), with an interagency work group, has coordinated the development of a report on the condition of the entire Little Paint Branch based on the current state of knowledge from many sources. The subwatershed contains high-quality stream reaches in its northern tributaries within Montgomery County, and they are a high priority for protection to maintain a functioning stream system.

Little Paint Branch Subatershed Study (PDF, 1.9MB)