Cedar Creek

Watersheds of the Delaware Bay & Estuary Basin
Appoquinimink River | Army Creek | Blackbird Creek | Broadkill River | C&D Canal East | Cedar Creek | Delaware Bay | Delaware River | Dragon Run Creek | Leipsic River | Little Creek | Mispillion River | Murderkill River | Red Lion Creek | Smyrna River | St. Jones River

The Cedar Creek watershed is located in the eastern portion of Sussex County. The Cedar Creek is 15 miles in length. The watershed drains an area of 52 square miles. It is bounded on the north by the Mispillion River watershed, on the east by the Delaware Bay, on the south by Broadkill River watershed and on the west by the Gum Branch and Gravelly Branch watersheds. The major watercourse in this watershed is Cedar Creek. Impoundments within this watershed are Cubbage Pond, Clendaniel Pond, and Cedar Creek Mill Pond. Cedar Creek flows in a generally northeasterly direction into a stream called Slaughter Neck Ditch which subsequently flows northward and discharges at the mouth of Mispillion River.
Land Uses
The watershed is sparsely populated with no incorporated communities. There are several population concentrations in mobile home parks and subdivisions. Major land use in the area consists of agricultural lands and tidal marsh and swamp.
The Mispillion and Cedar Creek watersheds in this wetland assessment straddle southeastern Kent County and northeastern Sussex County, Delaware and cover 128 square miles of land with all its waters draining eastward into the Delaware Bay. The overall landscape shows the tell-tale signs of a rich history where gristmills, sawmills and shipbuilding once flourished.

Today the scenery is dominated by agricultural fields, wetlands, and developments. Wetlands in the Mispillion watershed make-up approximately one-quarter of the land, and are a great resource for protecting Delaware, but unfortunately, they are not able to function to their fullest potential in this watershed. Mispillion watershed wetlands are in fair condition, receiving a C as its overall grade. It has lost approximately 19% of its original wetlands since the early 1700s, mainly due to conversion of land to agricultural fields or development.

Tidal (C), riverine (C-) wetland types were assessed and graded (grade in parenthesis) in this watershed. The most common stressors to these wetlands were forest harvesting, invasive plant species, storm water inputs, excavation, filling, and ditching in the wetland, and development, agriculture, and roads in the lands surrounding the wetland (buffer). The complete reports and data for this assessment are available online.
Nutrients and Bacteria
The designated uses for the Cedar Creek include primary recreation, secondary recreation, fish, aquatic life and wildlife, industrial water supply, and agricultural water supply in freshwater segments. This watershed also is designated as waters of exceptional recreational or ecological significance for the marine waters segments. There are nutrient and bacteria TMDLs for the Cedar Creek watershed that require a 45% reduction in nitrogen loads, a 45% reduction in phosphorus loads, and a 95% reduction in bacteria loads.
The Cedar Creek Watershed has a total of six sites listed in the Site Investigation and Restoration Section database. There are four sites that are state-fund lead (HSCA) sites and two sites are listed as a Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS).

Each of the sites is sampled through the programs listed above for a consistent suite of environmental contaminants. These contaminants are broadly classified as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs), Pesticides, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Metals as listed using USEPA and DNREC defined standards. When sites are adjacent to water bodies sediment samples are collected to assess potential impact from a site on the health of the waters.

In water bodies of the Cedar Creek Watershed, samples have indicated that mercury is present in the environment at levels requiring further attention under the Clean Water Act (1972). The Cedar Creek Watershed is on the 303d list of impaired waters as well as having State of Delaware Fish Consumption Advisories for mercury.

If you would like to view reports for any of the sites in the SIRS program please follow the link the DNREC Environmental Navigator to search by map for the Cedar Creek Watershed.
Geology and Soils
Cedar Creek is a tidal stream which flows in a sluggish and meandering manner. The water in this stream is generally turbid. The upland portion of this watershed is generally level to gently sloping and the soils are characterized as having high agricultural productivity.
Further Resources