Brandywine Creek || Christina River || Naamans Creek || Red Clay Creek || Shellpot Creek || White Clay Creek
The Christina River watershed is one of four major watersheds in the Christina Basin. The Christina Basin is part of the Delaware River Basin. The White Clay, Red Clay, and Brandywine creeks are tributaries of the Christina River and flow southward from Pennsylvania and into Delaware near Newark, Yorklyn, and Wilmington, respectively. The headwaters of the Christina River lie within the state of Maryland and enter Delaware west of Newark. The Christina River is tidal from just south of the town of Christiana to its confluence with the Delaware River at Wilmington. Lower portions of the Christina River are under tidal influence.
The Christina River is the most urbanized watershed in the Christina Basin with a majority of urban/suburban land followed by forest/wetland and agriculture uses. Collectively the White Clay, Red Clay, and Brandywine creeks and Christina River are used to supply drinking water to more than 50% of New Castle County's population. The water is distributed to residential, commercial, and industrial customers within a service area that stretches from the Pennsylvania state line in northeast New Castle County to the northern edge of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Municipalities in the Christina River watershed include Newark (DE), Elkton (MD), London Britain Township (PA), and Franklin Township (PA).
The watershed is the site of the Port of Wilmington, an important shipping link, and one of the largest importers of orange juice, Chilean grapes, bananas, and automobiles nationally.
DNREC's Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program (WMAP) has been developing scientifically robust methods to monitor and evaluate wetlands in Delaware on a watershed basis. Learn more about the health of the wetlands in this watershed from the DNREC Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment Program.
Plants and Wildlife
Recreation and Culture
View of Sunset Lake in Newark
Photo credit: Buddy Hellein
Square Miles (total): 77.8
Square Miles (DE): 67.2
Population (total)*: 186,557
Population (DE)*: 179,370
States: DE, PA, MD
Counties: DE: New Castle MD: Cecil PA: Chester
*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..