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Indian River Bay Watershed in Delaware

Picture of Indian River Bay Watershed

                Indian River Bay Watershed

Watershed Description

Picture of Indian River Bay

     Indian River Bay downstream of Burton                                       Island

The second largest bay in the Inland Bays of Delaware is Indian River Bay.  It is tidal for most of its area.  It is one of Delaware’s Inland Bays.

Watershed Area:  78,389 acres (31,723 hectares)

Location:  Southeastern Sussex County in southeastern Delaware between Rehoboth Bay on the north and Little Assawoman Bay on the south.

Flow Direction:  East towards the Atlantic Ocean, though it is mostly tidal.

Characteristics:  Urban residential on the edges of the water and agricultural in the outlying areas.  Terrain is generally flat.

Major Vegetation Communities/Land Covers


Agricultural field is the largest land cover in Indian River Bay.  Land covers associated with development take the #2 and #4 as cultivated lawn and impervious surface, respectively.  Estuarine Coastal Polyhaline Water that makes up the bay is the #3 ranked land cover.  The only forest community to make the top 5 is Northeastern Coastal Plain Mixed Oak/Heath Forest.

Indian River Bay Watershed Vegetation Communities/Land Cover (Top 5 for 2007)
Vegetation Community/Land Cover Acres Hectares
Agricultural Field 22,703.00 9,188.00
Cultivated Lawn 11,090.00 4,488.00
Estuarine Coastal Polyhaline Water 8,961.00 3,626.00
Impervious Surface 5,505.00 2,228.00
Northeastern Coastal Plain Mixed Oak/Heath Forest 4,003.00 1,620.00

     *The table above is subject to change with more watershed mapping.

Managed Lands


Links of Interest


Vegetation Community/Land Cover Maps Available


One vegetation community/land cover map based on 2007 aerial imagery is available in .pdf format.  The map is in the process of completion and is provided “as is” for informational purposes.  Email for shapefile requests.