Wicomico Creekwatchers monitor water quality at 21 sites throughout the Wicomico River system, collecting samples from these tributaries and ponds: Wicomico Creek, the East Prong, Shiles Creek, Rockawalkin Creek, Coulbourne Mill Pond, Johnson Pond, Parker Pond, Schumaker Pond, and Tony Tank. The water quality analysis includes chlorophyll a, salinity, pH, nitrogen (nitrate and total nitrogen) and phosphorus (phosphate and total phosphorus) levels. Eight of the sites are also sampled in warmer months for fecal bacteria levels.
The sampling sites are divided into four groups for comparison of annual averages: Ponds, Upper Wicomico, Lower Wicomico, and Wicomico Creek. The Ponds are upstream of manmade barriers and impoundments in or near the City of Salisbury, surrounded by residential properties, and fed by streams draining farmland and residential areas, including the Town of Delmar and its wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). These impounded streams flow into the Upper Wicomico, which is tidal and receives WWTP inputs from Fruitland and Salisbury. The Lower Wicomico is diluted by tidal action from the Chesapeake Bay, has measurable salinity, and is more distant from urban nutrient sources. Wicomico Creek is tidal and drains mainly agricultural land.
The Wicomico River Watershed covers 182 square miles of land in Wicomico and Somerset Counties in Maryland and Sussex County in Delaware. Ultimately, all rain water that flows into the river makes its way into Tangier Sound and the Chesapeake Bay.
The mission of Wicomico Creekwatchers is to collect and develop objective, scientifically credible water quality data by recruiting and mobilizing a grassroots volunteer force that monitors the waters of the Wicomico River and its tributaries on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore. Through its work, Creekwatchers advances efforts of citizens, businesses, and public officials to ensure that public policies and other management tools adequately protect and preserve Wicomico River water quality.
Since its inception in 2002, Wicomico Creekwatchers has established a set of baseline data for identifying water quality conditions and trends over time.
What You Can Do
In many Chesapeake Bay tributaries, excessive sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus loads have decreased water quality and the health of aquatic habitats. This pollution stimulates algae growth, diminishes water clarity, and ultimately reduces dissolved oxygen levels within the water. These changes reduce a water body’s aesthetic and recreational values, and impair its ability to support healthy populations of aquatic life. You can help improve the health of your river and the Bay:
- Get involved locally - your local organizations and government can’t do it alone;
- Use lawn chemicals and fertilizers sparingly and only as directed;
- Create “buffers”—areas that will soak up excess rain water—by planting native trees, shrubs and grasses;
- Use rain barrels to catch rain water from your roof and plant rain gardens to trap it on the ground;
- Support your local and regional conservation groups; and,
- Become a Creekwatcher!
For more information you can visit the link below:
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