Delaware.gov logo

Whole Basin Management



In the 1990s, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control began a different approach to assessing, managing, and protecting Delaware’s natural resources. This approach, known as Whole Basin Management, encourages the various programs from throughout DNREC to work in an integrated manner to assess different geographic areas of the state defined on the basis of drainage patterns.

There are four major drainage basins in Delaware: the Piedmont Basin, the Delaware Bay and Estuary Basin, The Chesapeake Bay Basin, and the Inland Bays and Atlantic Ocean Basin.

For each basin, the Whole Basin Management team prepared technical assessment reports that gathered together data and information needed by planners. They also created environmental profiles to share information with the public.

In 2013, Division of Watershed Stewardship staff met to evaluate progress towards implementing recommendations that had been laid out in the Whole Basin Assessment Reports. Statewide Progress Report

Piedmont Basin

The Piedmont Basin is found within two physiographic provinces: the Piedmont Province and Atlantic Coastal Plain Province. Delaware’s Piedmont Province occupies the northernmost six percent of the state and is commonly referred to as “Delaware’s hard rock country.” The basin takes its name from this geologic province in which it primarily resides — “the Piedmont” — which literally means lying at the base or the foot of the mountains. Piedmont Basin Progress Report

Delaware Bay and Estuary Basin

The Delaware Bay and Estuary Basin is located in eastern New Castle, Kent, and Sussex counties. The Basin is named for the area which it drains to — the Delaware Bay and Delaware Estuary. In Delaware, the land area that this basin drains is approximately 520,960 acres (814 square miles), and encompasses the following watersheds: Delaware River, Army, Creek, Red Lion Creek, Dragon Run Creek, Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, Appoquinimink River, Blackbird Creek, Delaware Bay, Smyrna River, Leipsic River, Little River, St. Jones River, Murderkill River, Mispillion River, Cedar Creek, and Broadkill River. Delaware Bay Basin Progress Report

Chesapeake Bay Basin

The Chesapeake Basin in Delaware encompasses a 769-square-mile area of land in western New Castle, Kent, and Sussex counties. The basin is named for the water body that rivers and creeks in the western part of the state drain to — the Chesapeake Bay. Delaware’s portion of the Chesapeake Basin consists of headwater areas, the uppermost reach of a river or stream and the area where a waterway originates. Chesapeake Basin Progress Report

Inland Bays and Atlantic Ocean Basin

The Inland Bays/Atlantic Ocean Basin is located in southeastern Sussex County. The basin is named for the water bodies into which it drains — the Inland Bays and Atlantic Ocean. The Delaware portion of the basin encompasses approximately 200,702 acres, or 314 square miles. Inland Bays Basin Progress Report




+