2013 Mosquito Control season begins this week with spraying wooded wetlands

DOVER (April 3, 2013) – Weather permitting, DNREC’s Mosquito Control Section has started its annual spring woodland-pool spraying this week, treating wooded wetlands for control of immature (larval) mosquitoes near populated areas in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties. Approximately 5,000 to 8,000 acres with woodland pools where early season mosquitoes breed in quantity will be strategically larvicided by helicopter, and possibly fixed-wing aircraft. 

If larval stages of these early season mosquitoes are not successfully controlled, an intolerable number of biting adult mosquitoes could take wing by early to mid-May and remain through late June, becoming particularly troublesome within one to two miles of their woodland pool origins, significantly affecting local quality of life for residents and visitors alike, said Mosquito Control Administrator Dr. William Meredith. As in past years, only woodland pools near populated areas will be treated. 

“Delaware has about 100,000 acres of wet woodlands in the spring, and it’s not possible logistically or for budgetary reasons to larvicide all woodland mosquito-rearing habitats. Additionally, not all of these wet woodlands contain pool habitats suitable for producing large numbers of mosquitoes,” said Dr. Meredith. “Targeting woodland pools that are good habitats for mosquito larvae near populated areas is the best return on investment in providing mosquito relief to the most people.” 

Over the next few weeks, Mosquito Control will apply a bacterially-produced insecticide, Bti, for larval mosquito control. “Like all insecticides used by the Mosquito Control Section, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that Bti, when used in accordance with all EPA-approved instructions as required by federal law, can be applied without posing unreasonable risk to human health, wildlife or the environment,” said Dr. Meredith. 

The amount of spraying needed is determined by where and how wet the woodlands are, which can vary from year to year depending on the location and amount of precipitation that has occurred over the past autumn, winter and early spring. At present, with the exception of some wetter areas in Sussex County, woodland pool acreage is below normal statewide, and larval densities also appear a bit lower than normal. Relatively cool weather this spring is also slowing larval growth progression. These factors can be favorable for effectively treating in timely manner woodland pool mosquito production during early spring. However, all of this can quickly change, depending upon rainfall amounts and temperatures over the next few weeks. 

Aerial spraying of woodland pools must be completed before the forest canopy fills in with foliage, usually around mid-April, because leaves prevent the insecticide from reaching pools and other wet spots containing larvae on the forest floor. The spring campaign marks the beginning of Delaware’s mosquito season, which in most years continues until sometime between mid-October and early November, depending upon when the first killing frost occurs. Throughout the rest of the year, mosquito control needs expand to include saltmarsh mosquito control, treatment of myriad types of freshwater habitats to control other species of freshwater mosquitoes, and control of mosquitoes in urban or developed areas that are produced in standing water or container habitats.

 As in the past, advance public notice of when and where spraying will occur this year will be given daily via radio announcements, by calling 800-338-8181 toll-free, or by visiting Mosquito Control’s website at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Services/Pages/MosquitoSection.aspx and clicking “Mosquito Spraying Announcements.” Interested parties may also subscribe to receive email notices by visiting DNREC’s homepage, clicking on “Email List Subscription” under Services and following directions to sign up for mosquito control spray announcements.

During mosquito season, the public is encouraged to do its part to reduce mosquito-rearing habitat by cleaning clogged rain gutters, keeping fresh water in birdbaths, draining abandoned swimming pools and emptying standing water from such containers as scrap tires, cans, flower pot liners, unused water cisterns, upright wheelbarrows, uncovered trash cans, depressions in tarps covering boats or other objects stored outside.

To request local relief, call Mosquito Control’s field offices:

  • Glasgow Office, 302-836-2555, serving New Castle County and the northern half of Kent County including Dover
  • Milford Office, 302-422-1512, serving the southern half of Kent County south of Dover and all of Sussex County.

For more information about Delaware’s Mosquito Control program, call the Dover office at 302-739-9917. 

The Delaware Mosquito Control Section provides statewide services to more than 880,000 residents and more than 2 million visitors annually to maintain quality of life and protect public health by reducing the possibility of mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus. Throughout the warmer months, Mosquito Control monitors and treats mosquito populations that emerge from wetland areas found throughout the state, including ditches, stormwater ponds, wet woodlands and coastal salt marshes. The Section also works year-round on water and marsh management projects designed to reduce mosquito populations, and provides the public with information on dealing with mosquitoes, from reducing backyard mosquito breeding to avoiding mosquito bites.

 Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902. 


Vol. 43, No. 124


DNREC’s Sportsmen Against Hunger program distributes nearly 19,000 pounds of venison to Delawareans in need

DOVER (April 3, 2013) – During the 2012-2013 deer season, hunters donated 18,761 pounds of venison from 708 deer to the Delaware Sportsmen Against Hunger Program. DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife staff is working to distribute the frozen ground venison to more than 30 charitable organizations and food pantries throughout the state to provide meals for needy Delawareans.

The venison was processed by nine participating private butchers plus a butcher shop located at the Sussex Community Corrections Center in Georgetown. The venison processing facility is staffed by offenders in the SCCC’s Violation of Probation Center, who have been specially trained as butchers. Since the Delaware Department of Correction program began in 2005, the Sussex facility has processed more than 70,000 pounds of venison. This year, the facility processed 268 deer into 7,636 pounds of venison at substantial savings to the Sportsmen Against Hunger program.

Since Delaware Sportsmen Against Hunger was founded in 1992 by a coalition of sporting groups, hunters have donated more than 400,000 pounds of venison, providing nearly 1.5 million meals to Delawareans in need. The amount of venison donated this year was less than the 2011-12 season, in which 23,762 pounds of venison was donated from 725 deer.

For more information, please visit the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife website at Sportsmen Against Hunger, or call 302-284-1077. 

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 43, No. 122


Anglers reminded that harvesting river herring is prohibited

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds recreational anglers and commercial watermen that harvest or possession of river herring, a popular baitfish, is illegal in Delaware. Anglers must have a valid receipt from a state or jurisdiction where harvest is still permitted to possess river herring. 

New Delaware Fisheries regulations took effect in February 2012, closing the recreational and commercial harvest of river herring (also known as blueback and alewife herring). The closure was made to bring Delaware into compliance with Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) requirements. 

Much of the commercial river herring catch in Delaware traditionally has come from the Nanticoke River and its tributaries. Maryland’s river herring fisheries are closed statewide, including Maryland’s portion of the Nanticoke River. New Jersey has closed its river herring fisheries in the Delaware River and Bay.

In the past, recreational anglers targeted river herring as the fish gather to spawn in the spring for use as bait in the striped bass hook-and-line fishery. With Delaware’s river herring fisheries closed, recreational anglers are no longer permitted to catch river herring and must use alternate bait for stripers. Signs informing the public of the fisheries closure are posted at various fishing locations.

For more information, click on river herring regulations.

With fish entering the spillways this spring, anglers are also reminded that using any type of net to catch fish within 300 feet below a dam or spillway is illegal, with the exception of using a landing net on a fish caught with hook and line.

For more information on fishing in Delaware, please visit www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Fisheries/ .  

Vol. 43, No. 129


DNREC to hold April 23 public hearing on proposed revisions to sediment and stormwater regulations

DOVER (April 1, 2013) – DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship will hold its second public hearing on proposed revisions to the Delaware Sediment and Stormwater Regulations at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, in the DNREC Auditorium, Richardson and Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover. The revisions are designed to address the April 2005 recommendations of the Task Force on Surface Water Management, as well as changes to regulatory language following the first public hearing held March 1, 2012.  

The proposed regulation revisions may be inspected at the following locations: 

  • DNREC’s Dover office, Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901
  • Kirkwood Library, 6000 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington DE 19808
  • Kent County Public Library, 497 South Red Haven Lane, Dover, DE 19901
  • Georgetown Public Library, 123 West Pine Street, Georgetown, DE 19947

The proposed regulation revisions and the technical document may also be inspected on the DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship’s Sediment & Stormwater Management Program website

For additional information or to make an appointment to inspect the proposed regulation revisions or the technical document at DNREC’s Dover office, please contact Elaine Webb, DNREC Sediment and Stormwater Management Program, at 302-739-9921, or Elaine.Webb@delaware.gov. Review of the documents at the public libraries can be made during the libraries’ scheduled operating hours.

Interested parties may present statements and testimony orally or in writing on the proposed regulation changes at the April 23 public hearing or submit comments in writing by May 8, 2013. Comments submitted as part of the first public comment period will remain as part of the record. Those interested in speaking at the public hearing are asked to register in advance. Written comments on the technical document will be accepted until Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

 Written statements and comments on the proposed regulation changes may be addressed to: Elaine Webb, DNREC Sediment and Stormwater Management Program, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, or submitted by email to Elaine.Webb@delaware.gov.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902 

Vol. 43, No. 121


DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: March 20-27; Reminder for the week: Life jackets, cold water precautions recommended for spring boating safety

DOVER (March 28, 2013) – To achieve public compliance through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement agents made 597 contacts with hunters, anglers, boaters and the general public, including 12 boating safety checks, in which all but one vessel operator was found to be in compliance. Agents also responded to 15 complaints and issued 5 citations between March 20 and 27.

Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:

Wildlife Conservation: Operating a motor vehicle at excessive speed in a state wildlife area (1), operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway in a state wildlife area (1), and dumping in a state wildlife area (1), New Castle County; Trespassing after hours in a state wildlife area (1), Kent County.

Boating Safety: Insufficient number of life jackets aboard vessel (1), Kent County.

Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Training
Fish and Wildlife agents Sr. Cpl. Casey Zolper and K-9 Warden attended a week of quarterly training in Maryland March 18-22, joining Maryland Department of Natural Resources dogs and handlers to practice their tracking, evidence recovery and wildlife detection skills. Sr. Cpl. Zolper trained K-9 Warden to alert on the scent of river herring to help in locating illegally caught herring. As of this spring, Zolper and Warden have been partners for seven years. Since Warden joined the Enforcement Section in 2006, he and Zolper have tracked missing people and evasive suspects, located key evidence in wildlife conservation and criminal cases, and represented the Delaware Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section in public demonstrations of Warden’s specialized skills.

Are you AWARE?
With signs of spring in the air, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section and the Delaware Office of Boating Safety would like to remind early season boaters and anglers of the importance of life jackets. “Statistics show that not wearing life jackets is one of the leading causes of boating fatalities in the state of Delaware as well as nationwide, and that 80 percent of these fatalities could have been prevented by life jacket use,” said Sgt. Gregory Rhodes, Delaware Boating Safety Office. “Like seatbelts in automobiles, we know without question that life jackets save lives.”

In Delaware, life jackets also are the law – and the law requires that owners/operators of recreational vessels carry one readily accessible life jacket for each person aboard, and that children age 12 and younger wear a life jacket while underway in any vessel on Delaware waters. (Minimum fine for violations: $76.50)

“Vessel operators are responsible to make sure that children aboard their boat are wearing life jackets – and they can set the example by also wearing one,” Sgt. Rhodes said. “Although the law does not require ages 13 and older to wear a life jacket, we strongly recommend life jacket use by everyone aboard a vessel in Delaware waters, especially anyone with limited swimming skills. It’s a smart choice that can prevent an unnecessary tragedy.”

Even on days when the air is warm, boaters also should remember that water temperatures are still cold – currently 43 to 45 degrees, Sgt. Rhodes said, noting that immersion in cooler water can lead to hypothermia very quickly, in which the body instinctively protects its core by shutting down blood flow to limbs first. The Coast Guard recommends wearing layers for protection and warmth, including gloves and a hat. Recommended gear also includes a floatation coat or survival suit, which also acts a life jacket, or a dry suit, which keeps water out and, with thermal layers beneath, keeps warmth in. 

Sgt. Rhodes added these tips:

  • If you fall overboard or capsize, stay with your boat for a better chance of being found sooner.
  • Keep clothing on to help retain heat.
  • Keep your cell phone in a secure pocket and sealed in a plastic bag.
  • Carry a personal position locator beacon, a personal emergency locator light and/or flares, and a whistle to make noise and attract the attention of rescuers.
  • Pack a set of dry clothing in a sealed plastic bag.
  • File a “float plan” with a responsible friend or family member. Include a description of your boat, when you plan to head out, who is going with you, where you plan to go and when you plan to return.  

“Filing a float plan is always a good idea, because unforeseen circumstances can hit boaters in any season at any time, including a storm, engine problems, swamping, and injuries or other health issues,” Sgt. Rhodes said. “With your plans in hand, a friend or family member can call for help if you’re overdue and tell searchers where to begin looking for you, saving precious time.” 

For more information on safe boating practices in Delaware, including an easy-to-use float plan form, please visit www.fw.delaware.gov/Boating/BoatingSafety.htm.

 The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife recognizes and thanks the majority of anglers, hunters and boaters who comply with and support Delaware’s fishing, hunting and boating laws and regulations. Citizens are encouraged to report fish and wildlife and boating violations to the Delaware Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section by calling 302-739-4580. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030 or online at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/OpGameTheft.aspx .

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902, or Sgt. Gregory Rhodes, Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement, 302-542-6102. 

Vol. 43, No. 118