Join the Nanticoke Creekwatchers Team!

Friends of Blackwater NWR Accepting Apps for Scholarship

Friends of Blackwater NWR is now accepting applications for their annual scholarship program for Environmental Sciences students. Maryland residents entering their junior or senior years (or entering graduate programs) may apply at through March 15, 2021.

Fall 2020 Newsletter

Read our Fall 2020 newsletter here!

Summer 2020 Newsletter

Read our Summer 2020 Newsletter to see what the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance has been up to this summer!

View Our 2019 Nanticoke River Report Card Video

Tour a Bioreactor

Tour Date:

July 23,

2020 | ANYTIME 11a-2p

Rain Date: July 24


Approximately 45% of the land that drains to the Nanticoke River is in agricultural production. For years, farmers have reduced runoff using vegetative buffers and cover crops.

Bioreactors are another great way to reduce harmful runoff.


Benefits of a Bioreactor:

– A proven technology

– Require little maintenance

– Use very little farmable land

– Last up to 20 years

– Can improve drainage effectiveness

– Funding is available for design & installation


Bioreactors remove nitrates from farm runoff to send cleaner water downstream. A bioreactor is basically a Mac-truck-sized pit filled with wood chips. These wood chips hold healthy bacteria that can reduce nitrate levels for up to ten years! Joe Layton, a local family farmer.

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A wood chip bioreactor is basically a hole in the ground 20’ wide by 100’ long by 5’ deep, filled with wood chips.  The site is usually selected on the low edge of the farm field where the rainwater drains from the field into a ditch that feeds into a local waterway. Water from the farm is diverted into the bioreactor where a natural organic process takes place, removing 90% of the nitrates.  The rainwater with the nitrates, filters through the carbon from the wood chips in this low oxygen environment, causing a reaction with bacteria that make the nitrates come out of the water and turn into harmless nitrogen gas.  The air we typically breathe is 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen.


Joe Layton, NWA board member and farmer, grows poultry feed on a 120-acre property in Dorchester County near Route 50. The NWA is partnering with additional organizations like Ridge to Reefs to install a bioreactor on Joe’s farm to remove excess nutrients that would normally run off into the local waterways. Stay tuned; in August farmers and interested folks will be invited to see the bioreactor under construction and learn more!





Learn More about bioreactors on Ridge To Reef‘s website. You can watch a video here that explains how bioreactors filter water and handle high flows during storms.

We look forward to working with more farmers to implement on the ground projects that keep our waterways clean and our farming community profitable.

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FT AmeriCorps Member Needed for 2020-21 Service Term

Updated on July 26, 2020: Nanticoke Watershed Alliance has completed the recruiting and interviewing process for the 2020-21 service term. If you are interested in potentially serving at another host organization or would like to apply for the 2021-22 service term, please visit the ShoreCorps page at

Site Visit and Planting Interest Form

Native Planting Series in July

Although our Native Planting Series has concluded, you can view recorded presentations at our YouTube channel.

If you live in the Delaware part of the Nanticoke River watershed, you can also sign up for a site visit. Site visits will occur in mid-to-late August 2020.


“Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Native Tree Sale


Thank you for your interest in planting native trees on your property! Please fill out the form below or learn more by downloading our info packet.


Trees are younger and about 2-3 feet in height, though some species will be smaller.

Young trees may take longer to reach a height you consider “full-grown,” however, trees planted at a young age develop a better root system than trees replanted when they are older. This gives the younger trees a better chance of survival.

Click the image below to see our list of $10 native trees

Links to all the individual files in the packet can be found at the bottom of this page.


Due to restrictions on our funding, the $10 price and free delivery are only available to Delaware residents within the Nanticoke River Watershed (some MD residents within the watershed my qualify too). The watershed covers most of western Sussex County and small areas of Kent County south and west of Harrington. Click here to check your watershed address.
Official Flier   |   Native Tree Facts
Maintenance Agreement   |   Safety Guidelines