Brandywine Watershed Wetland Assessment

The Brandywine watershed is located within New Castle County, where it encompasses 72,969 acres of land. This is the northernmost watershed in Delaware and is part of the Piedmont region. Though most of the Brandywine watershed is developed, this area contains Category One wetlands, which are unique and ecologically significant freshwater areas.

Wetlands within the Delaware portion of the watershed are nearly all non-tidal, freshwater wetlands, totaling 2,805 acres or 3.4% of the watershed area. This watershed is a combination of eight sub-watersheds, including Upper White Clay Creek, Lower White Clay Creek, Red Clay Creek, Middle Brandywine Creek, Lower Brandywine Creek, Matson Run-Shellpot Creek, Oldmans Creek-Delaware River, and Stoney Creek. The landscape is dominated (65%) by development and cities, like Wilmington and Newark.

By 2017, 978 acres of the watershed’s historic wetlands, or 26% of historic wetland acreage, had been lost, mostly due to human development and land conversion. Impacts to wetland health reduce a wetland’s ability to perform fully, minimizing its valuable role in providing ecosystem services for both people and wildlife.

Overall, the Brandywine watershed’s wetlands received a C+ for their health score. Common wetland stressors were fill, weirs, and invasive species, and in the surrounding landscape development, roads, and mowing.

Long Term Goals

The Brandywine watershed needs your help. Development, construction of roads or parking lots, and creation of golf courses have led to wetland degradation and threaten rare plant and animal species. Based on this study, several recommendations were made to improve management and encourage informed decision making. These included:

  • Support vegetated buffers for non-tidal wetlands and encourage buffer increases in the watershed.
  • Increase citizen education and outreach; inform landowners about the benefit wetlands provide and create a reachable understanding of how wetlands are relevant to the public.
  • Conduct conservation and restoration activities to increase the overall health and acreage of the wetlands in the watershed.
  • Control the extent and spread of non-native plant species.
  • Work with decision makers to improve the protection of non-tidal wetlands for the future.
  • Encourage landowners to protect and enhance wetlands or buffers on their property.
  • Engage in best management practices in urban and suburban settings.

Wetland Assessment Report

For more information about the Condition Report, contact Alison Rogerson, at 302-739-9939.

Photo of a small stream running between trees with an open area in the background.