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
The Pocomoke River watershed is located in southern Sussex County. The 9-mile long main stem of the river in Delaware rises in southwest of Millsboro and flows south to the Maryland border. The river eventually discharges to the lower Chesapeake Bay.
Land use within the watershed is dominated by agricultural uses and wetland areas. The headwaters and tributaries of the Pocomoke River encompass a portion of the area known as the Great Cypress Swamp.
The DNREC TMDLs for the Pocomoke Watershed require a 55% reduction in nitrogen load, a 55% reduction in phosphorus load, and a 30% reduction in bacteria load.
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.
The following designated uses are applied to the Pocomoke watershed: primary contact recreation, secondary contact recreation, fish, aquatic life and wildlife, agricultural water supply and industrial water supply.
This watershed has sites sampled for a consistent suite of environmental contaminants. These contaminants are broadly classified as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs), Pesticides, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Metals as listed using USEPA and DNREC defined standards. When sites are adjacent to water bodies sediment samples are collected to assess potential impact from a site on the health of the waters. Learn more information specific to this watershed from the DNREC Advanced Facility Search Tool.
Plants and Wildlife
Naturally occuring bald cypress are a rare species in Delaware. This tree species has a relatively limited distribution and is found in the Pocomoke River Watershed.
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 Pocomoke River next to a trail
Photo credit: DNREC's WATAR Program
Square Miles (total): 215.2
Square Miles (DE): 34.6
Population (total)*: 14,549
Population (DE)*: 2,154
States: DE, MD
Counties: DE: Sussex MD: Wicomico
*Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 5-year estimates, 2019.
Land cover (total)†
Land cover within Delaware†
†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..