VIENNA, Md. — The grade for the overall health of the Nanticoke River dipped to a C in a 2021 water quality report card released Monday by the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance.
While the Nanticoke declined from a C+ rating in 2020, creeks in the watershed remained unchanged at C+.
The Delaware Headwaters region was the only sub-watershed out of six to score above a C+, with a B.
Marshyhope Creek fell to a C+, from 2020’s B-. The other regions (Upper Nanticoke, Lower Nanticoke, Broad Creek and Lower Creeks) all scored C’s.
Except for the Delaware Headwaters, a common trend among all sub-watersheds was increased algal blooms during 2021, propelled by a sustained warm-weather season during the sampling year. This led to much poorer chlorophyll grades than in 2020, according to the alliance.
The Nanticoke River’s grade is comprised of two segments: Upper Nanticoke and Lower Nanticoke. The Upper, which is tidal freshwater, is a much smaller segment and runs from the Seaford (Delaware) Boat Ramp to Sharptown’s Cherry Beach.
The Lower Nanticoke incorporates the middle and lower sections of the river, covering the area from Riverton to Nanticoke.
The Nanticoke Watershed Alliance uses data collected by its volunteer Nanticoke Creekwatchers Program and by the Chesapeake Bay Program for the report card. The Creekwatchers follow an Environmental Protection Agency-approved protocol.
The report card and an informational video may be viewed here.