Delaware Bay

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 Delaware Bay Watershed drains directly to the Delaware Bay and Delaware Estuary.
Land Uses
This watershed is dominated by forest and wetlands.
The Smyrna River watershed wetland assessment area encompasses 71 square miles and is composed of three sub-watersheds: Smyrna River, Duck Creek, and Cedar Swamp-Delaware Bay. It is located partially in Kent County and partially in New Castle County. The watershed is within the Delaware Bay and Estuary Basin, all its waters drain into the Delaware Bay. Land cover in this watershed is dominated by agriculture and wetlands. Of these wetlands, nearly half are saltwater, and the other half are freshwater. These wetlands are beneficial resources for both people and wildlife.

Unfortunately, approximately 32% of historic wetland area in this watershed has been lost to conversion to development and agriculture. Based on field data, wetlands in the Smyrna River watershed received an overall condition grade of B-, indicating that these wetlands are functioning slightly below their full potential. This also presents an opportunity for improvements through stewardship, conservation, and restoration.

Tidal (B-), depression (C), flat (B-), and riverine (D+) wetland types were assessed and graded (grade in parenthesis) in this watershed. The most common stressors to these wetlands were invasive plant species, ditching, excavation and filling 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
There are no nutrient or bacteria Total Maximum Daily Loads in the Delaware Bay watershed.
The Delaware Bay Watershed has a one site listed in the Site Investigation and Restoration Section database. This site is a state-fund lead (HSCA)site.

The site is sampled through the program 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 Delaware Bay Watershed, samples have indicated that PCBs, mercury and dioxin are present in the environment at levels requiring further attention under the Clean Water Act (1972). The Delaware Bay Watershed is on the 303d list of impaired waters as well as having State of Delaware Fish Consumption Advisories for PCBs and 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 Delaware Bay Watershed.
Further Resources