The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Watershed Stewardship has issued a new report assessing the overall health of the Christina River Watershed.
Background: The Christina Watershed is located in New Castle County Delaware, extending North and West into Maryland and Pennsylvania. In Delaware this watershed includes the cities and towns of Wilmington, Elsmere, Newark, and Christiana. The wetlands in the watershed were assessed in the summer of 2011 by DNREC and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, and found to have an overall health grade of “F.” Compared to other previously assessed wetlands in the state the Christina River Watershed has the highest proportion of degraded wetlands and the least proportion of undisturbed wetlands. Although these wetlands in comparison to other watershed are more degraded they still provide some of the same benefits., including flood storage, water purification, and educational opportunities.
Long-term goals: Based on the information gathered during this study seven management recommendations were created.
- Preserve remaining Delmarva Bays.
- Incorporate wetland creation and restoration into urban planning.
- Utilize clean dredged materials for wetland creation.
- Encourage alternative shoreline protection designs.
- Develop incentives and encourage maintaining natural buffers along riverine and tidal wetlands.
- Control the extent and spread of the non-native, invasive common reed (Phragmites australis).
- Update tidal wetland regulatory maps.
Next Steps- Developing a Christina River Watershed Restoration Plan: The wetland assessment data garnered from this study will be used to design a restoration strategy for the Delaware’s Piedmont Watersheds. The plan will be developed by an interagency team of scientists and managers.
Opportunities for both increasing wetland quality and quantity in target areas will be identified by integrating the data from the wetland monitoring and assessment program with data from other strategies and efforts.
For more information about the Condition Report:
Alison Rogerson - Alison.Rogerson@state.de.us
DNREC Watershed Assessment Section