Delaware Natural Resources Police Cite Sussex Man for Illegal Dumping

Delaware Natural Resources Police Environmental Crimes Unit (ECU) arrested a Georgetown man Tuesday, Sept. 20, on a charge of illegal dumping on a public roadway.

After an investigation by ECU officers, Serapio Zapata, 58, was issued an e-ticket with a fine of $637 for causing or contributing to the discharge of solid waste materials.

DNREC reminds Delawareans and visitors to Keep DE Litter Free, not to litter, to help clean up our outdoor spaces, and protect the state’s unique natural heritage.

Defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a jury trial at which the State bears the burden of proving each charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

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


DNREC to Seek Community Water Project Proposals

The Laurel Redevelopment Corporation made use of a DNREC Community Water Quality Improvement Grant to help fund construction of Tidewater Park in Laurel /DNREC photo.

 

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control encourages Delaware non-profit organizations, conservation districts, community organizations and homeowners’ associations to submit project proposals to be considered for matching grant funds from DNREC’s Community Water Quality Improvement Grants program.

Funding for grant award projects in this cycle is expected to range from $25,000 to $75,000. Projects recommended by DNREC staff for funding through a competitive grant process will be presented to the Delaware Water Infrastructure Advisory Council. Applicants may submit up to two project proposals per grant cycle. Project guidelines and the grant application can be found at de.gov/envfinance.

Community Water Quality Improvement Grants assist in implementing projects or programs that improve water quality on developed lands with specific watershed improvement plans and strategies. Programs and projects selected for these grants must demonstrate innovative and sustainable methods, techniques, and/or practices for water quality improvements, with cost effective and measurable results.

Eligible projects may include:

  • Enhancement or restoration of water quality within an impaired watershed.
  • Community stormwater management improvements in existing developments in partnership with municipalities.
  • Non‐regulatory or voluntary plans involving pollution control strategies, watershed-based restoration plans, whole basin management preliminary assessments, or community‐based stormwater permits.

Past projects that received Community Water Quality Improvement Grant funding have included: a green roof installation; living shoreline installation and marsh enhancement to stop erosion; a stormwater retrofit project featuring a wetland and bioswale to manage stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces; stream bank restoration to reduce erosion and sedimentation; and floating wetlands in Inland Bays dead-end canals to improve water quality.

Grant proposals should be submitted by email to NPS.grants@delaware.gov with “Community Water Quality Improvement Grants” in the subject line. Emailed proposals must be less than 10MB. All grant proposals must be received by DNREC close of business (4:30 p.m. EDT) Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022.

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 Division of Watershed Stewardship develops and implements innovative watershed assessment, monitoring and implementation activities. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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


DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation Achieves National Accreditation after Rigorous Review

 The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation, now CAPRA accredited, offers something for everyone at its Delaware State Parks, all year long.

 

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Division of Parks and Recreation recently achieved accreditation from the National Recreation and Park Association’s Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). The only national organization for accreditation of park and recreation agencies, CAPRA provides a management system of best practices to its members. Less than 2%, or 199 out of 12,000, parks and recreation agencies in the United States are CAPRA accredited.

The division earned this honor after demonstrating a high quality of operation, management and service to the community through a rigorous peer evaluation. As part of the accreditation process, the Division of Parks and Recreation was required to provide the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) with more than 130 detailed descriptions of how the agency meets each of the CAPRA standards along with nearly 500 pieces of compliance evidence, including manuals, certification lists and detailed processes for human resources, enforcement, maintenance, fiscal and programming.

“I am continuously proud of the work our Division of Parks and Recreation does, from the leadership by our division director Ray Bivens, to those in the field at our state parks to the administrative staff behind the scenes,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “CAPRA accreditation strengthens our ability to provide the high-quality recreational experiences millions of visitors have come to expect from Delaware State Parks, the best in the nation.”

CAPRA proves the division is operating with the best practices of the profession, increases credibility and can improve internal and external funding, improves overall operations and increases efficiency, enhances staff teamwork and pride by engaging all staff in the process, creates an environment for regular review of operations, policies and procedures, and promotes continual improvement.

“The CAPRA Accreditation process helps organizations establish a management system of operational best practices to improve their infrastructures, increase efficiency in all their departments and demonstrate accountability within their communities,” said Jennifer Schleining, NRPA CAPRA accreditation manager. “We are thrilled to include DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation as part of our 2022 slate of newly accredited agencies. They are the first CAPRA agency in Delaware and the third state park system accredited by CAPRA nationwide.”

Bivens Named 2022 AAPRA Fellow

On Sept. 14, Division of Parks and Recreation Director Ray Bivens was inducted into the American Academy of Parks and Recreation Administration, joining other distinguished practitioners and educators who are leaders in the parks and recreation profession. The academy is limited to 125 active fellows with five new fellows selected for the class of 2022.

“The Academy is honored to induct Ray into its ranks,” said AAPRA President Bill Foelsch. “The Academy represents a diverse group of professionals and educators – all with superior career experience and a dedication to improving the quality of life through the provision of high-quality parks and recreation opportunities.”

Election into the AAPRA is reserved for parks and recreation professionals who have demonstrated outstanding ability in administration, management or education, displayed broad interest with a direct service benefit to the advancement of public parks and recreation or assumed leadership with a keen desire to contribute to the advancement of the field.

In 2013, Bivens was appointed as the eighth director of the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation, where he is responsible for managing more than 26,000 acres of park land. Under his leadership, the division has seen tremendous growth and broken records in various areas, including camping/cabin stays, volunteer hours, park attendance and revenue. Visitation to Delaware’s 17 state parks has increased by 30% in the last five years, from 6.1 million visitors in 2017 to 7.9 million in 2021 and is up 78% over the last decade.

In 2021, the division was selected for its second Gold Medal Award from the AAPRA and NRPA as the best managed state park system in the country. This recognition makes Delaware the second state to win the award more than once, both times under Bivens’ tenure. Bivens was also recognized at the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) Conference with the Distinguished Service Award in 2021.

Bivens holds a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife management from Frostburg State University and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Wilmington University. He currently serves as an adjunct graduate professor at Clemson University and an honorary commander for the Dover Air Force Base.

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 Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov or Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov.

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DNREC Announces Grants to Support Communities With Pollution Restoration Projects

Virtual Public Workshop Scheduled for Nov. 16

Delaware communities adversely affected by environmental pollution can now apply for Community Environmental Project Fund (CEPF) restoration grants for the 2023 grant cycle through the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

The CEPF was created by the Delaware General Assembly in 2004 through legislation that authorized DNREC to establish a grant fund by withholding 25% of funds collected as penalties for violations of environmental regulations. These funds are returned to the communities where violations occurred through competitive grants to nonprofit organizations in support of community environmental projects.

Grants are available to affected communities to fund restoration projects that result in:

  • Reduced pollution
  • Enhanced natural resources
  • Enhanced recreational opportunities

IRS tax-exempt organizations are eligible for CEPF grants of up to $25,000. These groups include civic and community organizations, educational institutions, counties, municipal governments, state agencies and quasi-state agencies. The application deadline is Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. The projects funded in this grant cycle can begin on July 1, 2023 and should be completed by June 30, 2024.

To assist applicants with finalizing their applications, DNREC will hold a virtual public workshop focused on the CEPF program at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16. Connection information for the workshop is posted at de.gov/dnrecmeetings, and at de.gov/cepf. Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required for participation.

Recent CEPF mitigation projects benefitting Delaware communities adversely affected by environmental pollution have included: a project to improve aquatic and terrestrial wildlife habitats surrounding major waterways, a native tree canopy restoration planting due to storm damage, a food waste reduction program through composting, an educational project about environmental damage caused by improper disposal of cigarette butts that also encourages beach cleanups, a living shoreline installation at Thompson Island in the Inland Bays, a park beautification project on the Route 9 corridor, a community project to establish sustainable green spaces, community gardens and recreational areas that support healthy living in Northeast Wilmington, and a brownfield remediation project to convert a vacant lot into a playground for pre-school children, a basketball court for school age youth and an outdoor classroom in Wilmington’s Southbridge community.

The grant application, workshop details and more information about the CEPF are available online at de.gov/cepf.

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: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov, Joanna Wilson, Joanna.wilson@delaware.gov.

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Brandywine Zoo Awarded Re-Accreditation by Association of Zoos and Aquariums

 The Brandywine Zoo was recently re-accredited after a rigorous review process by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Recent upgrades by DNREC, staff efforts and the support of the Delaware Zoological Society (DZS) were contributing factors in this significant feat. Pictured, from left to right, are the Brandywine Zoo’s curator of conservation education Lauren Barczak, DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation Director Ray Bivens, Brandywine Zoo Director Brint Spencer and DZS Executive Director Mark Shafer.

 

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is proud to announce the re-accreditation of the Brandywine Zoo by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Accreditation Commission after a detailed review process that analyzed all aspects of the facility’s operation. The accreditation was awarded at the 2022 Conference of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums held in Baltimore.

AZA accreditation assures the Brandywine Zoo meets or exceeds professional standards and is a continued mark of excellence for the zoo, which has been AZA-accredited zoo since 1986. Delaware’s only AZA-accredited zoo is a member among 237 other accredited facilities and 15 certified related facilities throughout the U.S. and 12 other countries.

The Brandywine Zoo must undergo rigorous inspections, examinations and reporting every five years to maintain accreditation as a condition of AZA membership. The review process includes animal welfare and well-being; veterinary care; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff, and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; financial stability; risk management; governance; and guest services.

“We are proud of our Brandywine Zoo, a gem in the heart of Wilmington, and all it offers to the local community and those who travel to see the exotic and endangered animals. Recent upgrades we have made at the zoo and our upcoming plans have only increased its caliber and this accreditation is well deserved,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “I commend our staff and the Delaware Zoological Society for their work to ensure Brandywine Zoo remains a top-notch facility to connect people with and care for its rare animals.”

This accreditation also increases eligibility for funding and grants from certain foundations, corporations and other sources; permits participation in Animal Exchange – access to specimens from other AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums for loan and/or breeding; and allows the Brandywine Zoo to participate in the AZA’s flagship Animal Conservation Program, the Species Survival Plan.

The Brandywine Zoo has changed since its last accreditation review six years ago. In 2018, DNREC unveiled the 117-year-old zoo’s Master Plan, which includes a number of upgrades with a focus on animal welfare, overall guest experience, the zoo’s mission as a conservation institution, building positive momentum and meeting or exceeding AZA standards. Phases I and II of the Master Plan are complete and include:

  • An Animal Care Center that further strengthens care of animals at the zoo and provides ongoing veterinary care
  • New animal habitats to house black and white ruffed, ring-tailed and crowned lemurs, all endangered species endemic to the Island of Madagascar; southern pudu, the second smallest deer; friendly goats such as the Nigerian dwarf, African pygmy and angora; and an Andean condor viewing area that provides close-up encounters with one of the world’s largest flying birds
  • An improved Honey Bee Display with interactive and attractive play elements, graphics and oversized metal flowers
  • Increased ADA accessibility and a variety of other behind-the-scenes and public-area facility updates

Phase III includes a dramatic new entryway that will include new ticketing and security areas along with a new multi-species exhibit to include head-turning Chilean Flamingos. For other elements of the Brandywine Zoo’s Master Plan or to contribute to the DZS “Our Zoo Re-imagined” capital fundraising campaign, go to https://brandywinezoo.org/reimagined.

AZA has been the primary accrediting body for zoos and aquariums for more than 40 years. U.S. agencies such as OSHA and the USDA consider AZA standards as the “national” standard, and refer to AZA standards when evaluating institutions.

“The public expectations for animal care are constantly increasing, as are our own, which is why AZA’s accreditation standards are focused on providing the best animal care possible,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “Our rigorous accreditation standards evolve based on modern animal research, ensuring a process the public can trust. We applaud and admire these exceptional zoos, aquariums and related facilities on meeting the ‘gold standard’ for a modern zoological facility.”

The Brandywine Zoo features animals from the tropical and temperate areas of North and South America, Asia and Africa and provides numerous learning experiences, conservation projects, community outreach programs and special events for all ages throughout the year. The zoo is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Christmas.

The Brandywine Zoo is managed by the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation with support by its non-profit partner, the Delaware Zoological Society.

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 Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov or Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov.

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