Red Lion Watershed Wetland Assessment

The Red Lion watershed is located within New Castle County, where it encompasses 46,283 acres (72 square miles) of land within the Delaware Bay and Estuary Basin. It is composed of the C&D Canal East, Dragon Creek, Red Lion Creek, Army Creek, and Broad Dike Canal. Approximately 16% of the land area of the watershed is covered by wetlands and dominated by tidal wetland types.

Prior to 1992 an estimated 1,375 acres of wetlands have been lost in this watershed due to conversion to other land uses such as residential or commercial development.

More recently changes have been seen in wetland community types where wetlands are being converted to open water areas due to development. This is alarming as wetlands that are void of plants do not provide the same benefits that planted wetlands provide.

Overall, the Red Lion watershed’s wetlands received a D+ for their health score. Common wetland stressors were the presence of invasive plant species, and disturbances in the buffer surrounding the wetlands including agriculture, roads, and development.

Long-Term Goals

The Red Lion watershed’s wetlands acreage, condition, and value are critical for overall health and functionality.

Based on this study, several recommendations were made to improve management and encourage informed decision making. These included:

  1. Support vegetated buffers for tidal and non-tidal wetlands to minimize impacts and ensure function; develop incentives and legislation for natural buffers.
  2. 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.
  3. Conduct conservation and restoration activities to increase the overall health of the wetlands in the watershed.
  4. Improve coordination of watershed-based efforts both within and among agencies, and municipalities.
  5. Update tidal wetland regulatory maps to further improve accuracy and efficiency of regulation.
  6. Encourage landowners to protect and enhance wetlands or buffers on their property.
  7. Utilize best management practices (BMPs) in agricultural operations and 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 wetland meadow area with trees in the background.