What is a watershed? A watershed is all of the land that
water moves across or under while
flowing to a specific body of water. In this case, that body of water is the Appoquinimink River. A watershed includes the land and the water in it as well as the plants, animals and humans who live and work there. Every area of the earth in which water falls on land is a watershed; so no matter where you live, you live in a watershed!
What is the Appoquinimink watershed? The Appoquinimink watershed drains 47 square miles (the size of approx. 25,167 football fields)
in southern New Castle County. Within the watershed are 3 municipalities: Middletown, Odessa and Townsend. According to 2002 data, 52% of the watershed is agricultural, 21% is urban, 17% is water/wetlands and less than 10% is forested.
What is special about the Appoquinimink watershed? The Appoquinimink watershed is home to the last undisturbed marsh system left in Delaware. These marshes create important habitat for wildlife and waterfowl, provide spawning grounds for fish and other aquatic species and help to filter the water that makes its way into the Appoquinimink River.
The Appoquinimink watershed is also home to many endangered species including the bald eagle, bog turtle, and different species of hawks. It also supports abundant wildlife including herons, egrets, kingfishers, osprey,s wallows,otters, minks, beavers, deer, flying squirrels, meadow jumping mice, bats, and opossums.
What are the major threats to the Appoquinimink Watershed? Our modified landscape now includes roads, parking lots, and buildings that have replaced
natural vegetation. These surfaces prevent rainwater and snowmelt from being absorbed into the ground and are called an “impervious surface.” Rainwater or snowmelt that runs across these impervious surfaces is called “stormwater.”As stormwater runs off these surfaces, it picks up oil, gasoline, dirt, litter, debris from construction sites, and pesticides from our homes. Of the highest concern in the Appoquinimink watershed is nutrient pollution which is a result of stormwater runoff containing nitrogen and phosphorus mainly from fertilizers, animal waste, or waste from leaky septic systems. Stormwater flows down storm drains or into open ditches that lead directly to local waterways. Yes – this is true – storm drains empty directly into local streams and rivers and so anything that goes into them DOES NOT get cleaned before it goes back into the river! As a result fish can die, too much algae can grow, and water can become unsafe for drinking or recreation. So, it is important that we keep rivers clean!
Appoqunimink River Association
P.O. Box 341 | Middletown, DE 19709