The Broadkill River watershed includes the town of Milton and parts of Lewes, Georgetown, and Ellendale as well as agricultural lands and protected natural environments such as Prime Hook Wildlife Refuge. However, development in coastal Sussex County continues to expand at a rapid rate — moving north and west into the watershed. Thousands of new homes are slated to be built in the area in the next five years, putting increased pressure on the watershed.
On June 1, Delaware Sea Grant and the University of Delaware’s College of Marine Studies, with support from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, is sponsoring “A Day in the Life of the Broadkill” to call attention to this changing landscape and how it affects the Broadkill River watershed.
The event, which is being coordinated by Joe Farrell, resource management specialist with the Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service, also will introduce the Broadkill Tributary Action Team and the Broadkill River Citizen Monitoring Program. These two programs are being initiated to engage the public in the watershed and increase their understanding about the link between land use and water quality.
From 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., scientists from Delaware Sea Grant and the College of Marine Studies as well as from other state and local organizations will conduct a wide variety of scientific surveys on the Broadkill River and watershed.
A number of surveys will be conducted to assess the size and distribution of fish species and other marine organisms such as oysters and clams in the river. Citizen volunteers from the Citizen Monitoring Program also will participate by collecting water samples from various sites along the river and evaluate them for the presence of bacteria and phytoplankton.
William Ullman, professor of oceanography and director of the Oceanography Program at the College of Marine Studies will serve as scientific coordinator for the event. In addition to coordinating the multiple field investigations, he will serve as editor of The Day in the Life of the Broadkill report. This report will provide baseline information on the Broadkill River watershed that can be used to assess any changes in the watershed over time.
“All of Delaware’s watersheds and their associated estuarine environments have unique characteristics,” says Ullman. “The extensive salt-marsh areas and large number of ponds in the Broadkill estuary and watershed make this preliminary study particularly interesting.”
For more information or to arrange a time for interviews with the participants or to take photographs, please contact Joe Farrell by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (302) 645-4250.