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Water Inundation in Back Creek Watershed, Delaware (2002-2017)

Picture of C and D Canal

                                     C and D Canal looking west at DE 1 Bridge

Discussion of Back Creek Watershed

This watershed covers the western half of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in Delaware. This watershed is artificially created for the movement of maritime traffic from the Chesapeake Bay to Delaware Bay.  Riprap lines the edges of the entire main channel. The watershed is located between Bohemia River on the south and Perch Creek on the north. This watershed along with the C and D Canal watershed forms a “watery collar” on the north side of Delaware.  More information on the watershed can be found at this link.

This watershed does not react to precipitation events as previously discussed in other watersheds.  Most of its water comes from tidal flow between the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay.

Back Creek Tidal Water (2002-2017)


Table 1. Back Creek Watershed Tidal Water (2002-2017) in acres
Year Estuarine Coastal Oligohaline Water
2002 213.88
2007 214.22
2012 215.78
2017 216.58

ECOW = Estuarine Coastal Oligohaline Water (Salinity 0.5-5 ppt)

Table 1 shows the overall amount of water has increased consistently for Back Creek watershed in spite of the riprap-lined edges.  The water level was highest in 2017 and the lowest in 2002.  Like the other watersheds, Back Creek showed the 2007-2012 regression average, but not to the point of negative numbers.

Table 2. Average Rate of Back Creek Watershed Water Inundation in the 

(2002-2017) in acres/year

 Period  Average Rate (acres/year)
2002-2007 +0.07
2007-2012 +0.31
2012-2017 +0.16

Table 2 shows the water inundation rate increased in the 2007-2012 period and then slowed in the 2012-2017 period.  The increase bucks a trend seen in other watersheds but this is an artificial watershed.

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