Bohemia Creek || Broad Creek || C and D Canal West || Chester River || Choptank River || Deep Creek || Elk Creek || Gravelly Branch || Gum Branch || Marshyhope Creek || Nanticoke River || Perch Creek || Pocomoke River || Sassafras River || Wicomico
Gravelly Branch watershed is part of the Nanticoke River Drainage Basin.
Nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) and bacteria are problems in the Gravelly Branch Watershed. The Gravelly Branch DNREC TMDLs require a 3% reduction in bacteria loads, a 30% reduction in nitrogen loads, and a 50% reduction in phosphorus loads.
EPA established a Total Maximum Daily Load for nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment for the entire Chesapeake Bay Watershed. This TMDL requires reductions of approximately 24% for nitrogen and 20% for phosphorus between 2009 and 2025 from all of the Chesapeake watersheds within Delaware. Sediment loads from Delaware's portion of the Chesapeake must remain at 2009 levels under this TMDL.
Plants and Wildlife
Gravelly Branch Watershed supports extensive submerged aquatic vegetation beds that are used for fish spawning, cover, and nursery areas for fish like sunfish. Siltation caused by shoreline development and destruction of shoreline buffers is a major destructive factor, killing submerged aquatic vegetation beds and smothering egg masses that are within the beds. This type of alteration would severely affect shellfish, plant, and fish species by direct take, and by alteration of spawning, nursery, and feeding habitat.
Delaware's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), Division of Fish and Wildlife conducts on-going inventories of natural communities as well as rare and declining species, (e.g., state and globally-rare plants, birds, insects, mussels, reptiles, and amphibians). It maintains a database, both electronic and manual, of its findings throughout the state. Learn more about the wildlife and plant communities in this watershed from the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Programs.
In addition, the Division of Fish and Wildlife, working with the University of Delaware's Institute for Public Administration - Water Resources Center, maintains online databases about plants and plant communities in Delaware. Learn more about the plant communities in this watershed from the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife.
For more detailed information on this watershed, its water quality and resources, check out the following resources:
Chesapeake Watershed Implementation Plan
Delaware Watershed Plans
Delaware Whole Basin Reports
View of Gravelly Branch flowing through the forest
Photo credit: DNREC's WATAR Program
Square Miles: 38.3
Counties: DE: Sussex
*Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 5-year estimates, 2019.
Land cover (total)†
†Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office for Coastal Management. 2016 C-CAP Regional Land Cover. Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) Regional Land Cover..