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In support of Maryland's efforts to develop statewide water-quality management plans, a statistical analysis was performed to identify a set of representative and relatively homogeneous areas referred to as Hydrochemical Response Units (HRUs). The State intends to select representative areas within each hydrochemical response unit for monitoring and model development, and then apply the model to the entire unit. To identify hydrochemical response units, cluster analysis was applied to 1,136 digitally defined watershed units. Basin characteristics including land cover, soil type, slope, and geology were determined for each watershed unit and a clustering algorithm was applied to the data sets. A total of 11 hydrochemical response units were identified by the analysis. Major features that were important in distinguishing different areas of the state include: 1) upland and lowland Coastal Plain settings, 2) igneous, shale, and carbonate geology; and 3) urban land cover. The hydrochemical response units described in this report are considered to be an initial classification of watersheds in Maryland that can be refined as geographic data sets are improved and additional hydrologic data are collected.
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Statistical identification of hydrochemical response units for hydrologic monitoring and modeling in Maryland