Also known as the nation’s river, the Potomac River is known for being the 21’s largest river in the United States and is also one of its most historic waterways.
It flows from the Allegheny Mountains, crosses the Chesapeake Bay, and finally meets the Atlantic Ocean. The basin of the Potomac River stretches across four states that include Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia. Most part of the lower Potomac River comprises of Maryland, except a small tidal region that is located within the District of Columbia.
This entire region is referred to as the Potomac watershed, and this is the area of land where the water drains towards the mouth of the river.
The Potomac River is 405 miles in length and has a drainage area of 14,700 square miles, which makes it the fourth largest river along the United States’ Atlantic Coast.
This river has many tributaries that include Anacostia River, Monocacy River, Savage River, Cacapon, North Branch, Shenandoah South Branch, and Antietam Creek.
The Map of Potomac River
If you look at the map, you will see that it flows through a highly-populated area.
It runs from Fairfax Stone, West Virginia to Point Lookout, Maryland, which covers about 383 miles. The Potomac River map also shows the Potomac watershed, which is a 14,670-square-mile land area.
The river, along with the watershed, goes across multiple geological regions that include the Blue Ridge, Coastal Plain, the Appalachian Plateau, Piedmont, and Ridge & Valleys. It empties downstream into the Chesapeake Bay.
On the right, the Potomac River forms a border with Maryland and Virginia, whereas on the land bank, it shares a certain part of the border between Washington DC and Virginia.
Significance of the Potomac River
The Potomac River has long been supplying water to a majority of the six million people that reside in the DC area.
A lot of people also make use of the water and the attached land for multiple recreational activities such as birdwatching, boating, and fishing, among many others. The river serves as home to many birds, including the American Bald Eagle and the great blue heron, for instance. You will also find a variety of fish that inhabit the river, which includes pike, bass, walleye, and muskellunge.
More than that, though, one of the biggest reasons that highlight the significance of the Potomac River in American History is the fact that George Washington, the first president of America, lived in Virginia along the Potomac River for many years.
The Potomac River basin also plays a very important role for it serves major industries along the north branch of the river including, paper production, coal mining and pulp production; forestry and agriculture all through the river basin; fishing in the river’s lower estuary and agriculture plus chemical production in the region called Shenandoah Valley.
The Potomac River Today
The Potomac is much healthier than before, owing to the precautions of the Clean Water Act. It has also become quite a recreational attraction for nearby residents.