Final TMDLs Approved by EPA: Lower Choptank River

The Lower Choptank River watershed spans about 22 km of coastline bounded upstream by Cambridge and downstream by the mouth of the Lower Choptank River on Maryland's Eastern Shore.  The following waters are within the Lower Choptank River watershed:  Whitehall Creek, Indian Creek, Goose Creek, and Warwick River in Dorchester County and San Domingo Creek in Talbot County.  The first two restricted shellfish harvesting areas, Whitehall Creek and Indian Creek, enter the Lower Choptank River from the southeast.  Both these creeks have lengths of approximately 1.5 km and average widths of 0.2 km.To the northeast, the third and fourth areas, Goose Creek and Warwick River, enter the Lower Choptank River from the east.  Goose Creek has both a length and width of about 300 to 400 meters, whereas the Warwick River has a length of 2.8 km and an average width of approximately 0.2 km, widening to approximately 1 km at its mouth.  The fifth and last area, San Domingo Creek, is located approximately 20 km to the northwest.  It enters the Lower Choptank River from the north downstream of the other shellfish harvesting areas.  San Domingo Creek is approximately 900 m in length and 200 to 300 m wide.  The drainage areas of Whitehall Creek, Indian Creek, Goose Creek, Warwick River, and San Domingo Creek are, respectively, 909.1 acres (3.7 km2), 1702.4 acres (6.9 km2), 588.5 (2.4 km2), 4,055.7 acres (16.4 km2), and 606.9 acres (2.5 km2).

Lower Choptank River (basin number 02-13-04-03) was first identified on the 1996 303(d) List submitted to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) as impaired by nutrients, sediments, and fecal coliform in the tidal portions, with listings of biological impacts in the non-tidal portions added in 2002.  On the 2004 303(d) List, the fecal coliform impairment was clarified with the identification of five specific restricted shellfish harvesting areas within the basin.  The report, available below, addresses the fecal coliform impairment listings of the areas identified: Whitehall Creek, Indian Creek, Goose Creek, Warwick River, and San Domingo Creek.  The nutrient, sediment, bacteria, and biological impairments within other parts of the Lower Choptank River basin will be addressed at a future date.

It should be noted that a TMDL analysis of the northwest branch of the San Domingo Creek was completed by MDE and approved by EPA in June 2005.  However, that site was reported separately due to its inclusion in another watershed.  Additionally, TMDL reports for the main stem portion of the lower Choptank will be submitted subsequent to the current report due to the need to utilize a three-dimensional modeling approach at sites in this portion of the Lower Choptank.

Total Maximum Daily Loads of Fecal Coliform for Restricted Shellfish Harvesting Areas in Whitehall Creek, Indian Creek,  Goose Creek, Warwick River, and San Domingo Creek for the Lower Choptank River Basin  in Dorchester and Talbot Counties, Maryland

(Approved on September 11, 2006)

EPA's Decision Letter EPA's Decision Letter
Main Report TMDL_lowerchoptank_5tribs_fc.pdf (1730KB)

Comment Response Document

CRD_lowerchoptank_5tribs_fc.pdf (78KB)


Contact Information

Please direct questions or comments concerning this project to Maryland's TMDL Program at (410) 537-3818.