Nanticoke Watershed Receives New Report Card - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Nanticoke Watershed Receives New Report Card

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Report Card Released (Source: Nanticoke Watershed Alliance) Report Card Released (Source: Nanticoke Watershed Alliance)
Trap Pond is just one of the many waterways that are a part of the Nanticoke Watershed (Source: WBOC) Trap Pond is just one of the many waterways that are a part of the Nanticoke Watershed (Source: WBOC)

LAUREL, Del. - For the Nanticoke Watershed, it's the same culprit creating problems in the latest report card: Nitrogen. Just as with past years, the Nitrogen levels were in excess at every single sub-section of the watershed. 

"It's definitely the bad boy of the watershed, " said Beth Wasden, the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance. "That is the parameter that every year we see problems. Last year we actually saw some improvements in many of the sub-watersheds with total nitrogen. But this year we just saw those grades drop again." 

The six sub-sections are "De Headwaters," "Marshyhope Creek," "Lower Nanticoke," "Lower Creeks," "Broad Creek," and "Upper Nanticoke." Of those six areas, there were four scores of F, one D+ and one D. 

Wasden said excess nutrients like Nitrogen are problematic because they can cause algae blooms, which can pull out the oxygen from the water, and disturb marine life. In fact on Thursday, for the reveal of the report card, a planned "wade-in" was canceled due to an algae bloom. 

As for the overall grades, the Nanticoke Watershed was looking pretty positive, with a grade of B- for the rivers and B for the Creeks. The data was collected at 36 different sites, and the grades were based off of a protocol created by the Mid-Atlantic Tributary Assessment Coalition, according to Wasden.

Meanwhile some sections of the watershed are in better health than others. The "DE Headwaters" and the "Marshyhope Creek" are on the top of the list with an overall health index of B. Meanwhile the "Lower Nanticoke" and the "Lower Creeks" have a score of B-. The "Broad Creek" and the "Upper Nanticoke" have the lowest scores with a C+.

There are also significant problems in the adjacent "Fishing Bay," which is outside of the Nanticoke Watershed. This area, which essentially covers the entire Dorchester County area, had a score of C-. This watershed had a poor score in every category of the assessment, including a D in Water Quality and a D+ in both Nitrogen and Phosphorous levels.

Executive Director for the alliance, Shelly Baird, said that solving the problem would be a "group effort." 

"Even if you're not water-front," she said. "Your actions and your home, and your yard, waste that you may have, pollutants, - everyone contributes to the problem. So we really try to stress that everybody can be a part of the solution." 

At the ceremony, Perdue Farms also gave a $30,000 check to the alliance, which will be spread over three years, in an effort to improve water quality.

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