Key Piece of Mispillion Harbor Habitat Protected

Red Knot. Photo Credit: Tom Benson

15-year conservation effort secures an essential stopover for migrating birds, including the imperiled Red Knot

Kent County, Del. (April 6, 2021) — Mispillion Harbor, one of the most important locations for the survival of Red Knots and other migrating shorebirds, has been further protected, announced the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), The Conservation Fund, Delaware Ornithological Society and Delaware Wild Lands, Inc. After nearly 15 years, the partners have protected multiple parcels of private land significant to restoration along the mile-long Harbor shoreline—securing it in perpetuity as a wildlife reserve.

Located on the west shore of Delaware Bay, Mispillion Harbor is uniquely protected fom harsh weather elements, making it the perfect location for horseshoe crabs to breed. This attracts migrating shorebirds who rely on a brief stopover at the Bay to rest and feed on the crab eggs. The small but mighty Red Knot—a federally-listed threatened species—undergoes an annual migration from South America to their breeding ground in the Arctic and sub-arctic tundra. In recent years, studies have suggested that 50 to 80% of the entire remaining rufa Red Knot population has been recorded using Delaware Bay beaches. The protection of these lands will provide roosting habitat for the Red Knot for their next migration journey this May—and for all future migrations.

“Protecting Mispillion Harbor is the culmination of over a decade of work and the tireless efforts by many who came together to make sure that this critically important site was protected,” said Blaine Phillips, Senior Vice President and Mid-Atlantic Regional Director at The Conservation Fund. “Horseshoe crabs and shorebirds will finally have a safe place to spawn, rest and continue the amazing spectacle of their marathon migration for years to come.”

Recognizing the Harbor’s importance to Red Knots and other wildlife, The Conservation Fund, a national environmental nonprofit, purchased most of the Mispillion Harbor shoreline in 2006 to prevent any development that would harm the habitat. Over the years, most of that land was transferred to the State of Delaware for permanent protection. DNREC is completing important restoration work and has been operating the DuPont Nature Center—a science-based educational and interpretive facility with interactive exhibits designed to connect people with the Delaware Bay’s natural history and ecology.

“DNREC’s long history of monitoring horseshoe crabs and shorebirds along Delaware’s Bayshore helped identify important places to focus conservation through land protection and habitat restoration—critical work that cannot be achieved by government agencies alone,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “It takes a community of conservation partners and their many members, supporters, volunteers and donors working together to raise funds for realizing a conservation vision that will have meaningful impact on the recovery and sustainability of species like Red Knot and horseshoe crabs. This project represents—and celebrates—the best expression of shared responsibility, investment, and success. DNREC salutes the amazing grassroots effort of the Delaware Bird-A-Thon and boundless enthusiasm of Delaware’s conservation community, and our federal partners the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who made the protection of Mispillion Harbor possible.”

Two private parcels significant to restoration in the Harbor were officially protected in February 2021 when The Conservation Fund transferred the property to DNREC. The completion of this effort provides for the expansion of horseshoe crab and shorebird restoration and management efforts.

DNREC was awarded a Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund grant, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which provided significant funding to protect multiple parcels at Mispillion Harbor. The grant and protection of these parcels at Mispillion Harbor would not have been possible without the involvement of partners and the generous contributions from the Allerton Foundation, Delaware Wild Lands and the Delaware Ornithological Society (DOS).

“The permanent protection of this property, and the vision exemplified by The Conservation Fund, State of Delaware, Delaware Ornithological Society, and Delaware Wild Lands, exemplify what can be achieved with strong leadership and collective effort,” said Kate Hackett, Executive Director at Delaware Wild Lands. “The persistence and patience of this partnership, and ability to coalescence around this high priority land protection project, is outshone only by the global significance of habitat at Mispillion Harbor. Delaware Wild Lands is pleased to have contributed to the completion of this project and supported our partners in conservation, and we believe this level of collaboration can and will serve to inspire others toward even more habitat conservation and restoration.”

“The Delaware Ornithological Society is thrilled to join our partners in celebrating the protection of the single most important site in the First State for migratory shorebirds,” said DOS President Michael Moore. “The acquisition of this property achieves a long-term goal of our grassroots Delaware Bird-A-Thon fundraiser and is a key step in realizing the vision of its founder, the late Bill Stewart, who saw the potential of Mispillion Harbor as a crown jewel of shorebird habitat, research and ecotourism along Delaware’s Bayshore.”

Matthew Sarver, DOS Conservation Chair said: “This acquisition will result in enhanced protection of the federally-listed threatened rufa subspecies of the Red Knot, as well as numerous other species of migratory shorebirds, while improving access to the DuPont Nature Center for birders and other visitors. DOS would like to thank our many donors to the Delaware Bird-A-Thon for helping make this project a reality!”

The newly acquired property will undergo habitat restoration for the Red Knot and is currently closed to the public. The partners will have a celebration at the Mispillion Harbor site at a later date to honor the memory of the late Bill Stewart, a renowned ornithologist in the area who helped identify the Harbor as a place critical of protection.

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than eight million acres of land, including nearly 19,000 acres of beloved natural lands in Delaware such as First State National Park.
www.conservationfund.org

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

About Delaware Wild Lands
Delaware Wild Lands is the oldest and largest land trust in Delaware. We are a non-profit that has helped protect more than 31,600 acres since 1961. Today, we own and actively manage 21,600 acres for vibrant wetlands and wildlife habitat, clean air and pure water, and healthy farms and forests. www.dewildlands.org

About DOS
The Delaware Ornithological Society (DOS) is an all-volunteer, grassroots nonprofit representing hundreds of bird enthusiasts in Delaware and adjacent states. The organization’s mission is the promotion of the study of birds, the advancement and diffusion of ornithological knowledge, and the conservation of birds and their environment. DOS has helped lead collaborative conservation efforts for bird habitat on the Delaware Bay for fifteen years, raising over half a million dollars in private matching funds through our annual Delaware Bird-a-Thon fundraiser, and helping to protect over 2,100 acres of coastal bird habitat. https://www.dosbirds.org/

Media Contacts
Val Keefer, The Conservation Fund, (703) 908-5802, vkeefer@conservationfund.org
Michael Globetti, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, (302) 739-9902, michael.globetti@delaware.gov
Kate Hackett, Delaware Wild Lands, (302) 824-6235, khackett@dewildlands.org
Matt Sarver, Delaware Ornithological Society, (724) 689-5845, matt@sarverecological.com

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DNREC Launches Earth Day Video Contest

Deadline is Monday, April 12

With Earth Day exactly one month away, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is launching a video contest to educate and engage youth about the importance of environmental protection and inspire them to be part of the solution to address climate change.

The global theme for Earth Day 2021, Restore the Earth, brings hope that all people can come together to heal the planet. The contest invites Delaware students to produce and submit a 30-second video to answer the question, “What should we be doing to protect and restore our Earth?”

“Earth Day has inspired environmental activism for two generations, and today’s youth are growing up in a world where we have a much better understanding of the impact our actions have on our planet, said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “This contest provides students with an opportunity to showcase ways they are helping to continue the legacy of those who came before, and how their actions today will ensure a clean, green planet for generations to come.”

The contest is open to Delaware students and will be judged in three age categories: K through 4, 5 through 8, and 9 through 12. Entries must be original, unpublished and created solely by the entrant. All entries must be accompanied by release forms for all students appearing in the video, signed by their parent or legal guardian. The deadline for entries is 4 p.m. Monday, April 12.

Judging will be based on how well the videos represent the following criteria: message/theme, visual effectiveness, originality/creativity and universal appeal. The judging panel will include an educator, a scientist and videographer.

Winners will be announced in an awards ceremony on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22. Winners for each category will receive a certificate, a $500 gift card, an annual pass to Delaware State Parks and a prize bag.

Winning videos will be shared on the DNREC website and social media networks. For complete rules and more information, or to submit a video, visit dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov.

Between now and Earth Day – April 22 – Delawareans will have several opportunities to celebrate the natural world, learn about the science of climate change and take action. To learn more, follow @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov

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New Regulation Requirements Aimed at Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Effective Sept. 1

Taking aim at greenhouse gases and accelerating the state’s engagement in working to curtail global warming, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today that a new hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) regulation will be published March 1 in the state’s Register of Regulations with requirements for reducing harmful HFCs that go into effect Sept. 1, 2021.

The new regulation establishes a schedule for the state to phase down specific HFCs used in air conditioning/refrigeration equipment, aerosols and foams. HFCs are hundreds to thousands of times more potent per unit of mass than carbon dioxide (CO2) in contributing to climate change. Emissions of HFC emissions are growing at a rate of 8% per year, and the regulation will address the critical need to phase down their use.

“The HFCs targeted by this regulation are gases that are highly potent in terms of global warming potential,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “The adoption of these prohibitions will expand and strengthen Delaware’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change.”

The phase-down schedule and the requirements contained in the new HFC regulation were informed by a strong stakeholder engagement process. Through it, industry, non-government organizations, and industry association representatives worked with DNREC to tailor the regulation to reflect technology feasibility and additional environmental, industrial and economic considerations. The phase-down schedule – detailed in the regulation – begins Sept. 1, 2021, for specific HFC end-uses.

In concert with the regulatory effort for reducing greenhouse gases, the DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy has developed the “Cool Switch” Low Impact Refrigerant Program that offers incentives to offset the initial costs of switching to new equipment or retrofitting existing equipment to use a low-global warming potential refrigerant. The Cool Switch program complements the regulation to accelerate the state’s transitioning away from HFCs – and is a voluntary program available to Delaware businesses and non-residential consumers that use at least 50 lbs. of refrigerant. For comparison, 50 lbs. of refrigerant in a system might be used by the typical convenience store for effective cooling, with grocery stores and schools examples of non-residential consumers that use much more than 50 lbs. at a given time for their refrigerant needs.

The Cool Switch program launched in early 2020 and has since been recognized as one of the Top 100 Climate Policy Breakthroughs by Apolitical, a social network that promotes sharing innovative ideas and best practices among government agencies. The Buccini/Pollin Group, Giant Foods and Sea Watch International are among Delaware businesses that already are participating in the program to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Delaware.

More information about the new HFC regulation can be found on DNREC website. Details about the Cool Switch HFC program can be found on the website.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Air Quality monitors and regulates all emissions to the air. The Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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FY2021 Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds Soliciting Projects for Improving Water Quality

Virtual Public Workshop Set Jan. 13 by DNREC

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, in conjunction with Delaware Division of Public Health, will begin soliciting for new projects Jan. 13 as DNREC and DPH work to develop 2021 Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) project priority lists (PPLs). Projects must be listed on the CWSRF and DWSRF PPLs to be considered for funding.

A State Revolving Loan Fund virtual public workshop will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13 via Webex and offer a detailed overview of the CWSRF and DWSRF programs. Attendees will get guidance on requesting financial assistance for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure project needs. Pre-registration is required at https://stateofdelaware.webex.com/stateofdelaware/onstage/g.php?MTID=eff1367fd68a463c992ff312622eb27d4.

Workshop attendees also will learn how State Revolving Fund programs administered by DNREC Environmental Finance can provide a wide range of financial assistance, including:
• A one-stop loan application process for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure project assistance
• Land conservation and water quality improvement loan sponsorship programs
• Source water protection loans for drinking water supplies
• Wastewater, drinking water, and stormwater matching planning grants
• Community water quality improvement grants
• Asset management planning grants
• Project planning advances
• Planning and design loans

The workshop also will offer guidance on how and when to submit projects for funding consideration, project ranking criteria, project construction requirements, and how to apply for infrastructure planning grants.

Notices of Intent (NOI) for State Revolving Fund wastewater, drinking water, stormwater, and related infrastructure projects are due by DNREC close of business Friday, Feb. 12.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Environmental Finance team administers Delaware’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, making funding available to municipalities, the private sector, nonprofit organizations and individuals. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov


Garvin Statement on the Nomination of Michael Regan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Delaware Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Shawn M. Garvin, a former Regional Administrator of EPA Region 3, issued the following statement:

“I applaud the selection by President-Elect Biden of my state environmental colleague Secretary Michael Regan to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. I’m especially pleased that EPA will be led by someone from a coastal state facing the same climate-related issues as Delaware. Secretary Regan’s career — at the EPA, in the non-profit and private sectors, and currently as the leader of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality — gives him the experience and skill to address the challenges of environmental justice, climate change, safe and clean water, and cleaner air, just to name a few. His reliance on science and the rule of law, along with his compassion and understanding, make him the right person at this critical moment for our country and our planet. I congratulate Secretary Regan and commend President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris for this nomination.”

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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