Report on Love Creek is a Mixed Bag: Nitrogen and Bacteria are P - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Report on Love Creek is a Mixed Bag: Nitrogen and Bacteria are Problems

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Love Creek received a mix bag in the "2015 State of Your Creek" report (Photo: WBOC) Love Creek received a mix bag in the "2015 State of Your Creek" report (Photo: WBOC)
Nitrogen have been above the healthy limit for more than a decade (SOURCE: WBOC) Nitrogen have been above the healthy limit for more than a decade (SOURCE: WBOC)
Bacteria levels have been above the healthy limit for more than a decade (Photo: WBOC) Bacteria levels have been above the healthy limit for more than a decade (Photo: WBOC)
Phosphorous levels have been below the healthy level over the last decade, a positive aspect of this year's report (Photo: WBOC) Phosphorous levels have been below the healthy level over the last decade, a positive aspect of this year's report (Photo: WBOC)

LEWES, Del.- The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays sent Love Creek "back to school," and issued the waterway a report card, based on its nutrient and bacteria levels. The report indicated some positive aspects, in particular on the level of phosphorous. However, the report also said that there are problems with nitrogen and bacteria levels within the creek. 

The release is the first in a series of reports on 14 creeks in Sussex County, through the "Your Creek Initiative." Marianne Walch, from the center, said the report is all about keeping people informed about the state of their creek. 

"You should care about the water quality," she said. "Because that's why you're living in the area. Those of us who moved to the inland bays love the beautiful water. We love to use the beautiful water." 

When measuring phosphorous levels, the "Water Quality Standard" is anywhere below .01 milligrams per liter of water. The report showed that levels have been below that line, every year since 1998, a positive sign. Another positive indicator was the level of bay grasses in the ecosystem, something which "provides wildlife with food and habitat" and "add(s) oxygen to the water," amidst other benefits. 

Meanwhile, when measuring nitrogen, the "Water Quality Standard," is set at anything below .15 milligrams per liter of water. The report showed that the levels have been above that line, every year since 1998, a negative sign for water health. Excess nutrients are damaging because they cause algae blooms, which suck up oxygen. 

Another negative indicator was in the level of bacteria in the water. The report showed that levels have been far above the "long-term safe swimming standard." Walch said that pet waste is actually a significant cause for this high bacteria level in the water, among other causes.  

Dave Olinchak of Lewes said that he has seen the algae blooms during the summer, and finds them to be concerning.

"They stink," he said. "I think it's lousy. I don't really know how to change it. I don't know if we can stop the development down here. Or if its the agriculture. Or if it has to do with maybe the septic systems."

According to the center, the cause for the excess nutrients is actually all three, caused by runoff from developments, agriculture, and the high-volume of septic systems around Love Creek. 

Sally Boswell, education and outreach coordinator for the center, said having the information is half the battle.

"Many people don't know the creek they live on," she said. "And of course, if you don't know about something, you're unlikely to care about it or protect it. So we're trying to introduce people to their creek." 

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