Muddy Branch Subwatershed
Muddy Branch originates in the City of Gaithersburg and, like many of the tributaries of the mid-Potomac Basin in Montgomery County, has been influenced by development that occurred early in the County's history along major transportation corridors such as Route 355 and the railroad.
The developed areas with the highest levels of imperviousness are located in the headwaters of the subwatershed, and development decreases steadily as you go downstream. Not surprisingly, stream conditions improve as well.
Muddy Branch has seen a very rapid pace of development, mostly outside the City of Gaithersburg, since 1972. The subwatershed hydrology is still adjusting to these relatively new land use changes, and areas of instability are common. Many of the communities in the lower part of the subwatershed have developed with some level of environmental protection.
Biology of Muddy
Branch Muddy Branch supports a warm-water fish community. Bluntnose minnow, swallow-tail shiner, and redbreast sunfish are abundant. Also found in Muddy Branch are greenside and fantail darters and large Potomac sculpins. The large, flat rocks in Muddy Branch riffles support some of the largest (and most fierce) hellgrammites in this area.
Large areas of the Muddy Branch stream valley have been purchased as parkland by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) to protect and provide a valuable natural resource in a fairly urban area. The floodplains of the middle and lower portions of Muddy Branch support a rich and diverse spring wildflower community.
How Can I Help Protect Muddy Branch Subwatershed?
Individuals interested in helping to protect the health of the Muddy Branch can contact the Muddy Branch Alliance. This organization of local citizens prides itself in keeping the streams in the Muddy Branch subwatershed healthy and alive for all to enjoy.