Final TMDLs Approved by EPA: Lower Choptank River

The Lower Choptank River mainstem is located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in Dorchester and Talbot Counties. The Lower Choptank River has a length of approximately 45 km.  Its width ranges from 700 m upstream to approximately 7 km at its mouth, where it flows to the southwest into Chesapeake Bay.  The Lower Choptank River mainstem restricted shellfish harvesting area is the section downstream of Hunting Creek and upstream of Warwick River, and has a drainage area of 387,496.9 acres (1,568.14 km2).  A portion of this drainage area, approximately 16.2%, is in Kent County, Delaware.  The Lower Choptank River mainstem has a length of 7.52 km.  

The Lower Choptank River (basin number 02130403) 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).  The designated uses in the Lower Choptank River were listed as impaired by sediments, nutrients, and fecal coliform in tidal portions, with listings of impacts to biological communities in the non-tidal portions added in 2002.  On the 2004 303(d) List, the fecal coliform listing was clarified by the identification of the Lower Choptank River mainstem as the specific area of impairment.  Eleven restricted shellfish harvesting areas in the lower Choptank River were listed on the 303(d) List:  1) Jenkins Creek, 2) Tred Avon River, 3) Tar Creek, 4) Cummings Creek, 5) Northeast Branch, 6) Whitehall Creek, 7) Indian Creek, 8) Goose Creek, 9) Warwick River, 10) San Domingo Creek, and 11) the Choptank River mainstem downstream of Hunting Creek and upstream of Warwick River (hereinafter referred to as Lower Choptank River mainstem).  In 2010, an additional restricted shellfish harvesting area was identified as impaired in the mainstem downstream adjacent to the previously identified area. Fecal Coliform TMDLs for the first ten of these restricted areas have been addressed in separate reports in 2004 and 2006.  Also, in 2006 a TMDL of fecal coliform for the Lower Choptank River mainstem was established.  The impairments due to nutrients, sediments and impacts to biological communities within the Lower Choptank River basin will be addressed at a future date.  The nutrient and sediment impairments in the tidal Lower Choptank River were addressed by the 2010 Chesapeake Bay TMDLs.

As a result of the permit renewal process for the Easton Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) (MD0020273), an update is being made to the fecal bacteria TMDL approved by USEPA on 11/15/2006.  Another facility, Preston WWTP (MD0020621) was not included in the TMDL and so, the facility is being added to the TMDL allocations.  This addition shifted some of the allocation from the Load Allocation (LA) to the wastewater wasteload allocation (WWTP-WLA).  This reallocation of loads results in an overall decrease in the LA of 2%.  However, the overall TMDL has not changed. In addition, an addendum has been drafted to address the 2010 fecal coliform impairment.  The revised TMDL document and addendum are available below.   The revisions were approved by EPA on MArch 27, 2018. 

Total Maximum Daily Loads of Fecal Coliform for the Restricted Shellfish Harvesting Area in the Lower Choptank River Mainstem in Dorchester and Talbot Counties, Maryland

(Approved on Nov. 15, 2006)

​EPA's Decision Letter EPA's Decision Letter for the revised document (627KB)
​Comment Response Document for the Revised Document CRD_Revision.pdf (18KB)
​Revised Main Report Revised_TMDL_Lower_Choptank_main_fc.pdf (4343KB)
​Appendix E Appendix_E_Lower_Choptank_mainstem_FC.pdf (857KB)
EPA's Decision Letter EPA's Decision Letter
Main Report TMDL_lowerchoptank_main_fc.pdf (1521KB)

Comment Response Document

CRD_lowerchoptank_main_fc.pdf (75KB)


Contact Information

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