Salisbury- The City of Salisbury, in partnership with Wicomico Environmental Trust (WET) will gather later today to present the 2019 Wicomico Creekwatchers River Report. The event is set to take place at the Downtown Edible Garden in Salisbury at 1:00 pm.
During this press conference, officials from the City of Salisbury, WET and the Wicomico Creekwatchers will present results of data collected over the course of 2019. Data was collected periodically from 26 sites along the Wicomico River by volunteer citizen scientists throughout the year. The resulting data is then compiled and presented to produce 2019’s annual Wicomico River Health report.
“Today, we come together to celebrate the river that runs through the heart of downtown Salisbury, the Wicomico, and to announce the results of the 2019 Wicomico Creekwatchers River Report. I want to thank the Citizen Scientists who volunteer their time to provide data to local decision-makers on the health of the river. This data is critical for the City as we continue to strive to be a more sustainable community. It allows us to understand the health of the river, and make informed decisions about the work we must to do protect it,” shared Alyssa Hastings, the City of Salisbury’s Sustainability Coordinator, and WET Board Member.
This year, officials will present data that supports that nitrates in the water have increased from 2019 to 2019, while phosphate levels remained relatively consistent. Compared to long-term averages, the levels of chlorophyll in the Wicomico have been elevated for the past few years along with a steadily rising water temperature. Creekwatcher’s data also reports that pH levels in the Wicomico River have increased significantly from 2018 to 2019 in all segments of the river, while fecal coliform bacteria in the watershed continue to decline.
Water quality improvements in the Wicomico River are attributed to the City of Salisbury’s new Wastewater Treatment Plant and to reductions in storm water and industrial runoff. Per the WET data analysis, it is their belief that nutrient runoff from agricultural land and a major increase in paved surfaces, due to an increase in population, continue to be major factors in the river’s health that need attention.
“The City of Salisbury is proud to partner with WET and the Creekwatchers every year to better understand the Wicomico River and what we can do as a community to make it healthier,” shared City Administrator Julia Glanz. “We also encourage citizens to get involved and see what they can do to help preserve the River from which our home, Salisbury, was born.”