2013 Nanticoke River Report Card Now Available!

The Nanticoke Watershed Alliance is pleased to announce the release of the 2013 Nanticoke River Report Card, which is based primarily on data accumulated through its Nanticoke Creekwatchers Citizen Water Monitoring Program. In 2013, the Nanticoke River received a C+, and the creeks received a B-. Both grades were improvements on 2012 grades.


Although the 2013 summer season was marked by heavy rainfall, the amount of total phosphorus in the majority of waterways did not show major increases, which was the major positive of the year. Total nitrogen continued to show excessive levels throughout the watershed, however. In addition, water clarity in the Upper Nanticoke subwatershed, which includes the mainstem of the river from the Seaford Boat Ramp to Sharptown’s Cherry Beach, has shown diminished water clarity since the program began in 2008. For the first time, the Upper Nanticoke received a C+.


“Homeowners and recreational river users can do a great deal to improve water clarity. Installing living shorelines to stabilize eroding shoreline or to replace failing bulkhead, allowing a vegetative buffer to thrive along waterways, which includes the river, creeks, streams, and even ditches, and obeying no-wake signage and laws can reduce the amount of sediment that enters the water, protect your shoreline, and improve habitat,” said Beth Wasden, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator.


For the 2013 Nanticoke River Report Card, the NWA analyzed data from the 36 Nanticoke Creekwatchers sites, ten sites monitored by US Fish and Wildlife volunteers in the Fishing Bay watershed, and fourteen sites in the Chesapeake Bay Program. The Nanticoke Creekwatchers sites are monitored every other week, from late March through early November. In 2013, 32 Nanticoke Creekwatchers measured surface dissolved oxygen, salinity, water temperature, water clarity, and total water depth. Other program sites’ monitoring schedules and parameters vary.


In addition, Creekwatchers took nutrient and bacteria samples, which were analyzed by Envirocorp Labs Inc., a major program partner. Other program partners include the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science’s Integration and Application Network, Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth, RSVP of Sussex County and the Lower Shore RSVP, and Rommel Outdoors.


The 2013 Nanticoke River Report Card may be downloaded from the NWA website at https://nanticokeriver.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/2013-Nanticoke-RR-Final.pdf. Hard copies will be distributed in the coming weeks to local libraries, chambers of commerce, and other locations. In addition, citizens can pick up report cards at the NWA office in Vienna, Maryland, or at outreach events. For more information about the program or the report card, contact Beth Wasden at 443.944.1175 or at bethwasden@nanticokeriver.org.