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Big Elk Creek Watershed in Delaware

Big Elk Creek Watershed

                 Big Elk Creek Watershed

Watershed Description


Big Elk Creek is the northernmost of the Chesapeake Bay tributaries in Delaware and is the smallest watershed in Delaware, as most of Big Elk Creek is in Maryland.  The watershed in Delaware is part of a tributary to the larger creek.

Watershed Area:  206 acres (83 hectares)

Location:  Northwestern New Castle County in northwestern Delaware.  Just southwest of Newark, Delaware.

Flow Direction:  Southwest into Maryland and into the Chesapeake Bay.  None of the water in Delaware is tidal.

Characteristics:  Rural watershed that is at the edge of more urban watersheds.

Major Vegetation Communities/Land Covers


Mid-Atlantic Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest is the largest vegetation community and covers nearly half of the watershed.  Cultivated Lawn ranks as the second-most common land type and the associated impervious surface ranks #4.  Successional Tuliptree Forest ranks #3.  Northeastern Old Field ends the list at #5.

Big Elk Creek Watershed Vegetation Community/Land Covers (Top 5 for 2007)
Vegetation Community/Land Cover Acres Hectares
Mid-Atlantic Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest 95.00 38.00
Cultivated Lawn 35.00 14.00
Successional Tuliptree Forest 27.00 11.00
Impervious Surface 16.00 7.00
Northeastern Old Field 12.00 5.00
Managed Lands


  • None
Links of Interest



Vegetation Community/Land Cover Maps Available


Four vegetation community/land cover maps, 1997, 2002, 2007 and 2012, are available for the Big Elk Creek watershed in .pdf format.   The maps are nearing completion and are provided “as is” for informational purposes.  Please request shapefiles at