Salisbury University students on campus

Wicomico Creekwatchers

Wicomico Creekwatchers monitor water quality at 22 sites throughout the Wicomico River system, collecting samples from the river mainstem as well as 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.