Success Stories: Records Pond

Records Pond, also known as Laurel Lake, was created in 1900 with the completion of the Records Pond Dam on Broad Creek. Although Records Pond is just over 90 acres, it is one of the larger lakes in Delaware. Almost at sea level, and with a maximum depth of 10 feet, the pond is relatively shallow.

The Broad Creek watershed is comprised of about 75,000 acres in southwestern Sussex County. The 20-mile long creek flows through Trussum and Records Ponds to the Town of Laurel, then continues northwest to the Nanticoke River southwest of Seaford.


Runoff from agricultural and residential areas caused high bacteria levels in Delaware’s Records Pond. As a result, DNREC added the pond to the 303(d) List for bacteria. Watershed stakeholders provided technical assistance and installed agricultural BMPs in the pond’s watershed, causing bacteria levels to decline. As a result, DNREC removed Records Pond from the state’s 2008 list of impaired waters for bacteria.


Monitoring data collected in the late 1990s indicated that Records Pond failed to meet the state’s Enterococcus bacteria numeric criterion, which requires that the annual geometric mean be less than 100 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters. The pond did not support its freshwater primary contact designated use, prompting the state to add the pond to Delaware’s 303(d) List.

In 2006 the EPA developed a TMDL to address the nutrients and bacteria loading throughout the Broad Creek watershed, which includes Records Pond. To achieve TMDL targets and meet water quality standards in the pond, the TMDL required a 30% reduction in nitrogen and a 50% reduction in phosphorus loadings.


The Sussex Conservation District offered technical assistance to the farming community by providing nutrient management planning and cost-share funding for agricultural BMPs.

  • Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation plans and Environmental Quality Incentives Program contracts developed
  • 3,750 acres enrolled for cover crops over five years
  • Nutrient management plans implemented on approximately 85% of available lands
  • 48 manure storage structures installed
  • 44 poultry composters installed
  • 1 dairy animal waste facility installed
  • 1 incinerator installed

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program BMPs:

  • 127 acres of riparian forest buffers installed
  • 10 acres of hardwood trees planted

Urban BMPs installed between 2003 and 2012:

  • Bioretention Areas: 20 acres treated
  • Bioswales: 52 acres treated
  • Dry Detention Ponds: 42 acres treated
  • Dry Extended Detention Ponds: 186 acres treated
  • Erosion and Sediment Control: 75 acres treated
  • Filter Strips: 4 acres treated
  • Septic Tank Advanced Treatment Systems: 1 acre treated
  • Septic Tank Pump-outs: 7 acres treated
  • Urban Infiltration Practices: 14 acres treated
  • Wet Ponds and Wetlands: 710 acres treated


Bacteria levels in the pond have decreased in response to the more than 10 years of water quality protection and restoration efforts in the Records Pond watershed. DNREC collected monitoring data at STORET Station 307011 in Records Pond between September 2002 and August 2007. The geometric mean of the 28 samples collected over the 5-year period was 27.2 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters. This was well below Delaware’s freshwater bacteria water quality standard, so DNREC removed the 91.9-acre segment of Records Pond (DE-050-L04) from the state’s list of impaired waters in 2008 per its Assessment and Listing Methodology. The Draft 2016 Integrated Report showed that the pond continues to meet the applicable water quality standards for bacteria due to continued restoration efforts in the watershed. Records Pond remains a popular recreation destination.

Partners and Funding

  • Clean Water Act Section 319 funds ~ $1.1 million
  • Delaware Conservation Cost Share Program
  • Delaware Nonpoint Source Program
  • Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Sussex Conservation District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency