To properly understand the relationships between the Delaware Bay, interior marsh water levels, ponds, impoundments and the drainage ditch network around Kitts Hummock, a comprehensive water level monitoring program has been established. This water level monitoring network at key locations will aid in the understanding the interrelationships between the water bodies and the influence of the drainage network in the community on these water bodies. Baseline monitoring is one of the prerequisite needs for conducting any defensible modeling and evaluation of the effectiveness of any proposed drainage improvements to the Kitts Hummock area. Additional needs prior to modeling would include validation of marsh elevations, detailed documentation and assessment of previous storms, and engineering designs of proposed alterations
The baseline network will use a total of 8 Inset HOBO water level recorders in conjunction with the USGS Tide gauge located approximately 5 kilometers south at Bowers Beach and other currently monitored parameters. Two water level recorders will be placed on the north and south sides of Kitts Hummock Road in the primary N/S drainage ditch approximately 250 meters inland from the Delaware Bay. These two recorders will placed in a location far enough into the marsh to provide an accurate estimation of the water levels in the marshes alongside Kitts Hummock Road. An additional two water level recorders will be used to examine the effects of marsh water elevation and the northern impoundment of the Logan Lane Tract of the Ted Harvey Conservation Area on adjacent private open water areas. A fifth water level reorder will be installed along the main drainage ditch along South Bay Drive. Two recorders will be placed in the open water areas of the marsh northeast of the community of Kitts Hummock to estimate the tidal backwater effects north of Kitts Hummock Road. A final recorder will be housed at the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) to measure barometric pressure changes to be used to atmospherically correct the readings of the water level recorders. The recorders will be surveyed to an accuracy of +- 2 cm vertical, and maintained and downloaded bi-monthly by staff from the DNERR.
Once sufficient data has been collected, which would include at a minimum of 3 months of data and at least 3 significant storm events the data will be compiled. Data on rainfall and wave height, period and direction, currently being monitored by the DNERR, will be incorporated into the data set and then the dataset will be analyzed. This analysis will include examining the Bay tide effects on marsh water/drainage ditch elevations; relationships of surrounding water levels on open water area; probable pathways of tide related flooding; and a qualitative evaluation of the expected effectiveness of drainage ditches in the area during different tidal cycles/storm events.
For more information, please contact:
Robert Scarborough, PhD
Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve
818 Kitts Hummock Road
Dover, DE 19901