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Choptank River Watershed


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Surf Your Watershed is a service to help you locate, use, and share environmental information about your state and watershed.


The Choptank River 8-digit Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) subbasin covers 62,191 acres. The entire Delaware portion of the subbasin is located in Kent County. There are 115 farms located in the subbasin . The average farm size is 257 acres, but about 5 percent of the farms are between 500 and 1,000 acres and another 5 percent exceed 1,000 acres in size.
There are 29,555 acres in farms in the watershed with 459 acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. Approximately 86 percent of the farmland or 25,417 acres is cropland. Corn, soybeans and wheat are the primary crops grown on about 85 percent of the acreage. Vegetables are grown on 14 percent of the acreage and hay and pasture account for the remaining one percent. Livestock operations are primarily based on poultry production.


Picture of cropland field in Choptank River Watershed

Physical Description

Landuse Urban Agriculture Confined Feeding Forest Wetland Water Other Total

Landuse Urban Agriculture Confined Feeding Forest Wetland Water Other Total
Acers 2,049 30,946 63 27,716 34 92 1,291 62,191
Percent 3.3% 49.7% .01% 44.5% 0.1% 0.2% 2.1% 100.0%

Source: Delaware Non-Point Source Pollution Assessment Report, based on 1984 land use

Map of Choptank River Watershed

Location map of Choptank River Watershed in Delaware


Primary soils in the watershed include:

  • Pocomoke-Fallsington-Saasafras

    The Pocomoke-Fallsington-Saasafras association accounts for the majority of soils in the watershed, but only about 13 Percent of the soils in Kent County. The landscape is mostly level, but there are some depressions and a few very gently sloping ridges, mainly in the vicinity of Hartly and Marydel. Pocomoke soils are very poorly drained and friable. Pocomoke soils have a high water table and in there natural state are too wet for any use more intensive than woodland and wildlife habitat. If thoroughly drained artificially, they are used for farming.

    Fallsington soils are poorly drained and friable and the water table is at or near the surface much of the year in areas that have not been artificially drained. If adequately drained they are suitable for crops, but poor natural drainage and high water tables severely limit there use for building sites. Fallsington soils are mainly in woodland but in areas that have been drained they are used intensively for corn and soybean production.

    Sassafras soils are well drained and in some places are gently sloping. They generally have few limitations and are intensively farmed.

Resource Concerns

The primary resource concern in the watershed is nutrient loading to ground and surface waters. In order to meet the basic Tier I requirement for inclusion in the CSP program farm operators must be addressing nutrient issues in their conservation plans. To qualify for Tier II farm operators must be focused on addressing wildlife habitat issues in their farm plans. The state has designated the surface waters in the watershed of medium concern for water quality, however, the ground water in the watershed has a medium to high water quality concern. Ground water provided through private and municipal wells is the major source of water for agriculture, industry and residential drinking water in the watershed. Base flow provided by ground water is also considered the primary supplier of fresh water to streams and is a very direct source of nutrients and other pollutants to surface waters.

Census and Social Data

The total population of the watershed based on the 2000 census is 63,900 people. The annual median household income in the area is $40,950. Approximately 10.7 percent of the people have living standards below the national poverty level. The estimated number and percentage of people by race in the watershed is as follows:

Some Other Race

CSP W/S Total White Black or
 African American
American Indian Asian Hispanic or Latino Total
Choptank 63,900 46,136 13,291 383 1,150 831 2,109
Percent 100% 72.2% 20.8% 0.6% 1.8% 1.3% 3.3%

Farm Community

The information in the following table was compiled based on data from the 2002 Census of Agriculture. It can be used to estimate the potential number of limited resource, and beginning or new farmers in the watershed.

Landuse Urban Agriculture Confined
Forest Wetland Water Other Total
  2,049 30,946 63 27,716 34 92 1,291 62,191
  3.3 49.7 .01 44.5 0.1 0.2 2.1 100.0

For General and Application Information, visit the NRCS CSP home page.

Map of Approved Conservation Security Program 2006 Watersheds in Delaware

Map of approved Conservation Security Program 2006 Watersheds in Delaware

Counties in the Choptank Watershed


On-Line Self Assessment - Link - Complete a 2006 Conservation Security Program Self Assessment - Coming Soon!

These documents require Adobe AcrobatLink to Adobe Acrobat Reader or Microsoft ExcelLink to Microsoft Excel Reader

Adobe Acrobat DocumentWatershed Fact Sheet (136 KB)
Adobe Acrobat DocumentKey Points of Conservation Security Program (64 KB)
Microsoft Excel DocumentChoptank River Watershed Cost List  (44 KB)
Adobe Acrobat DocumentStewardship Payment for Choptank River Watershed (16 KB)

Program Contacts - Delaware
Paul Petrichenko, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
Phone: 302-678-4180
Program Contacts - 2006 Maryland Conservation Security Program

Patty Engler, Resource Conservationist (Howard County)
Phone: 410-489-7987