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Assawoman Bay Watershed in Delaware

Assawoman Bay Watershed

              Assawoman Bay Watershed

Watershed Description

Picture of Assawoman Bay

                        Assawoman Bay

Assawoman Bay lies in the southeastern corner of Delaware, west of Fenwick Island.  Dry land in this watershed mostly developed.  Some of the larger examples of Needlerush High Marsh occur here, of which the main species, Needlerush (Juncus roemerianus), is near the northern limit of its range.

Watershed Area:  4,587 acres (1,856 hectares)

Location:  Southeastern Sussex County at the southeastern tip of Delaware.

Flow Direction:  Mostly tidal but water generally flows south into Maryland and then to the Atlantic Ocean.

Characteristics:  A lot of the waterfront is developed as residential vacation homes. The northwestern part is generally marsh and low forests.


History of the Watershed


The name Assawoman comes from the Algonquin word “Assawaman” which means “middle fishing stream“.

This watershed was part of Baltimore Hundred in Sussex County in the 1700’s.  It has gradually changed from an area of subsistence villages to a beach vacation land.

Major Vegetation Communities/Land Covers


Agricultural field is the largest land cover.  Cultivated lawn and impervious surface are second and third largest.  Mid-Atlantic Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest is the largest “natural community” type in the watershed.

Assawoman Bay Watershed Vegetation Communities/Land Covers (Top 5 for 2007)
Vegetation Community/Land Cover Acres Hectares
Agricultural Field 1,409.00 570.00
Cultivated Lawn 788.00 319.00
Impervious Surface 466.00 189.00
Estuarine Coastal Polyhaline Water 431.00 174.00
Mid-Atlantic Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest 315.00 128.00

     *Note:  The numbers in the table above will change as the map is completed.

Managed Lands


  • No managed lands within this watershed in Delaware.


Links of Interest


Vegetation Community/Land Cover Maps Available


One vegetation community/land cover map drawn to 2007 aerial imagery is available in  .pdf format. The map is in the process of completion and is provided “as is” for informational purposes. A shapefile is available by emailing