Assawoman || Buntings Branch || Indian River || Indian River Bay || Iron Branch || Lewes-Rehoboth Canal || Little Assawoman || Rehoboth Bay
The Indian River watershed is a subwatershed of the Indian River Bay.
Indian River Bay makes up one of three of Delaware's Inland Bays. The Inland Bays consist of three interconnected bodies of water - Rehoboth Bay, Indian River Bay, and Little Assawoman Bay - all located in southeastern Sussex County.
The land use of the watershed is made up primarily of agriculture and wetlands.
There are nutrient and bacteria TMDLs for the Indian River Watershed which requires a 65% reduction in phosphorus in the upper tributaries, an 85% reduction in nitrogen in the upper tributaries, a 40% reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus to all other tributaries, 40% reduction in freshwater nonpoint bacteria, 23% reduction in marine nonpoint bacteria, and a cap on point source bacteria at a geometric mean concentration level of 35 CFU enterococcus/100mL. The Indian River Generating Station has a Temperature TMDL that calls for an energy wasteload allocation of 1.26 x 106 BTU/day for the months of October through May and temperature allocations of no increase in daily mean ambient temperature above 84 degrees F in June through September.
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
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:
Delaware Watershed Plans
Delaware Whole Basin Reports
Center for Inland Bays
View of a great blue heron in the Indian River
Photo credit: Kristi Marren
Square Miles: 86.0
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..