Delaware Celebrates Lewes Canal Living Shoreline Project

A crew of 13 installed the living shoreline on the Lewes Canal in just one day in June. DNREC photo.

 

A living shoreline project developed by the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary to help Lewes, Delaware with shoreline stabilization was completed in partnership with Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Delaware Living Shorelines Committee.

The Lewes Canal project was a joint effort to add a 180-foot feature adjacent to an already existing living shoreline constructed in 2014 behind the Lewes Little League ball field. A method of shoreline stabilization and protection for wetlands, living shorelines absorb storm energy and protect property while reducing the potential for shoreline erosion issues. They also filter pollutants to improve water quality, a notable benefit as Delaware recognizes National Water Quality Month in August.

“Living shorelines are an innovative and environmentally friendly alternative that uses natural materials such as oyster shells,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “This project is a good example of the benefits living shorelines provide: pollutant filtering to improve water quality; habitat for animals, fish and birds; and protection from erosion and of infrastructure; as well as aesthetics for property owners.”

The new portion was constructed using natural materials: a small amount of coconut fiber coir logs and 1,300 recycled oyster shell bags. A crew of 12 configured the oyster shell bags in long, wavy pyramid formations along the intertidal zone to reduce wave energy and allow wetland habitat restoration. The design includes breaks in the structure to allow tidal exchange, fish and fauna passage, and runoff outflow. This project will be monitored through a collaborative effort for several years to document increase of wetland size and populations of ribbed mussels and oysters.

“From fisheries and water quality to flood protection, the ecological health and resilience of the Delaware Estuary depends on our historically abundant coastal marshes, but sadly we are losing about an acre per day,” said Kathy Klein, executive director at the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, which launched the Delaware Estuary Living Shoreline Initiative in 2008. “Thanks to its science-based design and monitoring, this project showcases how innovative, nature-based tactics can help stem these wetland losses.”

The project is a launching point for developing more partnerships and solutions to coastal restoration, as well as promoting green infrastructure efforts of the Delaware Living Shorelines Committee, a working group dedicated to facilitating the understanding, peer review and implementation of living shoreline tactics within the state. DNREC’s participation is represented by the Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program.

Supporters of the project include the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, United States Fish and Wildlife Service Delaware Bay Estuary Project, who provided funding through a small grant, and continued support from the Environmental Protection Agency. Property access and shoreline coordination provided by Lewes Historical Society and the Overfalls Foundation.

For more information, visit Delaware Living Shorelines at delawarelivingshorelines.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. 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: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov


DNREC Accepting Community Water Project Proposals

Tidewater Park in Laurel benefited from a stormwater enhancement project partially funded through a community water quality improvement grant.

Virtual Grant Information Workshop to Be Held Aug. 11

Delaware non-profit organizations, conservation districts, community organizations and homeowner’s associations are eligible to submit project proposals to be considered for matching grant funds from DNREC’s Community Water Quality Improvement Grants program. Proposals for the grants must be received by 4:30 p.m. Sept. 8.

The DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship will hold a virtual grant information workshop Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 2 p.m. that requires registration. More information about the upcoming workshop can be found at de.gov/dnrecmeetings.

The 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 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 funding included: a green roof installation; exploring use of freshwater mussels in stormwater management ponds; a stormwater retrofit project featuring a wetland and bioswale to manage stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces; and floating wetlands in dead end canals to improve water quality.

Funding for projects receiving a grant award in this cycle is expected to range from $25,000 to $75,000. Applicants may submit up to two project proposals per grant cycle. Projects recommended by DNREC staff for funding through a competitive grant process will be presented to the Delaware Water Infrastructure Advisory Council.

Proposals should be submitted by email to NPS.grants@delaware.gov with “Community Water Quality Improvement Grants” in the subject line. Proposals submitted by email must be less than 10MB. Project guidelines and the grant application can be found on the dnrec.delaware.gov.

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

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Information Session for White Creek Dredging Project to be Held on July 28

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will hold a virtual information session on Wednesday, July 28 to discuss the upcoming White Creek maintenance dredging project in Sussex County. The public meeting will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. More information about the project and the link to join the meeting can be found at de.gov/dnrecmeetings.

Since White Creek was last dredged in the early 2000s shoaling has increasingly impacted navigation in the waterway that connects Indian River Bay to the Assawoman Canal, and ultimately Little Assawoman Bay. The project is currently in the design phase and an alternatives analysis is also underway to identify suitable beneficial uses for dredged material generated by the project to restore and enhance coastal wetland areas close to the waterway.

Facilitated by the Shoreline and Waterway Management section within the DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship, the virtual meeting will provide information about its waterway management program, and an update on the progress of the White Creek project design and current project schedule. Interested parties are encouraged to submit questions in advance of the public information session. Meeting attendees can also provide comments and ask questions about the proposed project during the meeting.

For more information, call the Division of Watershed Stewardship, 302-739-9921.

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 DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov


Free Webinar on June 29 Features Coastal Restoration Toolkit

A toolkit developed by Restore America’s Estuaries helps communities launch a coastal restoration project and is the topic of a free webinar, presented by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, in partnership with the Delaware Living Shores Committee, on Tuesday, June 29.

The Coastal Restoration Toolkit was developed to provide high‐level, introductory educational information for community members on how to develop a coastal restoration project from concept to proposal. The toolkit is a launching point for developing solutions to coastal restoration opportunities that community members see in their local areas.

Speakers for the webinar will include Hilary Stevens, coastal resilience manager, and Elsa Schwartz, senior director of restoration and administration, for Restore America’s Estuaries.

This webinar is part of an ongoing virtual series presented by the Delaware Living Shores Committee, a working group dedicated to facilitating the understanding, peer review and implementation of living shoreline tactics within the state. DNREC’s participation is represented by the Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program and the Delaware Coastal Training Program.

For more information, visit Delaware Living Shorelines at delawarelivingshorelines.org. Registration and information is also available on the DNREC events and meetings calendar at de.gov/DNRECmeetings.

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

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Delaware Envirothon Results Announced

Wilmington Charter School Team C members are, top row: Darren Wu and Shriya Boyapati; middle row: Joanna Tan and Meghna Raj Annasagaram, and bottom: Amogh Baradwaj.

Wilmington Charter School Team C Finishes First

Charter School of Wilmington Team C is the winner of the 2021 Delaware Envirothon, an annual environmental and natural resources education competition for high school students sponsored by the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts in partnership with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Charter School of Wilmington Team A finished second and Charter School of Wilmington Team B placed third out of a total of 10 teams participating in this year’s competition. In addition to the three Charter School of Wilmington teams, other teams represented Calvary Christian Academy in Dover, Middletown High School FFA, Newark Charter School, Odessa High School FFA, and the Peach Blossom 4-H team from Kent County.

Instead of an in-person competition, students competed virtually over the course of four days. Each team answered questions on topics dealing with aquatic ecology, soils/land-use, wildlife, forestry, air quality, and the current environmental issue, “Water Resources Management: Local Control and Local Solutions.” Charter School of Wilmington Team C will now represent Delaware in the virtual 2021 National Conservation Foundation Envirothon out of Lincoln, Neb., at the end of July.

Each member of the winning team earned a $500 college scholarship from the Delaware Envirothon. The winning team will also receive an award plaque for their school. The second through seventh place teams received more than $1,300 in special team awards and cash prizes. Special cash awards totaling $450 were provided to the top three Forestry teams by the Delaware Forestry Association.

Prizes in the form of gift cards and ribbons were awarded to the top seven teams. The official results are as follows:

First place: Charter School of Wilmington Team C
Second place: Charter School of Wilmington Team A
Third place: Charter School of Wilmington Team B
Fourth place: Peach Blossom 4-H Club
Fifth place: Middletown High School FFA
Sixth place: Odessa Ducks FFA
Seventh place: Newark Charter School Dino Nuggets

Since its inception, the Delaware Envirothon has awarded $6,500 in scholarships to 125 students. The competition is hosted by the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts, a voluntary, non-profit association that coordinates conservation efforts statewide to focus on natural resource issues identified by Delaware’s three local conservation districts. For more information, visit delawareenvirothon.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. 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: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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