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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : Division of Watershed Stewardship : Watershed Assessment & Management : Watershed Assessment FAQs

Watershed Assessment and Management Section: Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is a TMDL?

Answer: A TMDL (total maximum daily load) is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards. In other words, it is the sum of the allowable loads of a single pollutant from all contributing point and nonpoint sources, and includes a margin of safety and consideration of seasonal variations. In addition, a TMDL contains the reductions needed to meet water quality standards and allocates those reductions among the sources in the watershed.

Q. How can I help prevent pollution to waters on farm land? At home?

A. Agricultural activities that cause pollution include confined animal facilities, grazing, plowing, irrigation, fertilizing, planting, and harvesting. The impacts can be minimized by properly using combinations of best management practices within an environmental context. At home - limit the amount of paved surfaces; landscape with the natural contours; use drought-resistant plants; maintain your septic system; use store, and dispose of chemicals properly - these are easy and inexpensive ways to prevent household water pollution. Raising community awareness can also be essential to solving this problem.

Q. What is a watershed? What watershed do I live in?

A. Watersheds are nature's boundaries. They are the areas that drain to specific water bodies, including lakes, rivers, estuaries, wetlands, streams, and the surrounding landscape. Ground water recharge areas are also considered. Surf Your Watershed is a new device that allows you to enter your zip code and find out what watershed you live in as well as certain programs that are currently on-going in your watershed and water quality and pollution information for that area. (Go to the EPA's "Surf Your Watershed".)

Q. What is an estuary and what is being done to protect them?

A. An estuary is a coastal area where fresh water from rivers and streams mixes with salt water from the ocean. Many bays, sounds, and lagoons along coasts are estuaries. Portions of rivers and streams connected to estuaries are also considered part of the estuary. The land area from which fresh water drains into the estuary is its watershed.Delaware influences and is influenced by three estuaries. Their names, and how to contact them for information on protection programs, are as follows: Delaware (River and Bay), Inland Bays (Indian River, Rehoboth, and Little Assawoman Bays), Chesapeake Bay

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