DNREC seeking volunteers for Saturday, March 19 beach grass planting along Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean coastlines

Beach grass will help stabilize dunes hit hard by recent coastal storm; register by March 11

DOVER – DNREC is seeking volunteers for Delaware’s annual beach grass planting event set for 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, March 19 at beach locations along the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean. The event, now in its 27th year, helps protect Delaware shorelines by planting Cape American beach grass on sand dunes damaged by coastal storms.

Last year approximately 1,000 environmental enthusiasts, families and students planted 110,000 stems of beach grass along over 3 miles of coastline between Kitts Hummock Beach and Fenwick Island.

According to Jennifer Luoma, environmental scientist with DNREC’s Shoreline and Waterway Management Section and coordinator of the event, volunteers are especially needed this year. “Delaware’s coastline was ravaged by the January storm that weakened, and in some areas destroyed dunes and eroded sand from our beaches. The dunes were hit especially hard, and hundreds of volunteers are needed to help stabilize dunes that have been repaired after the coastal storm.”

Volunteers are encouraged to sign up by March 11, 2016 either online at http://de.gov/beachgrass or by email to Jennifer.Luoma@delaware.gov. For more information, call 302-739-9921.

Sand dunes are essential for protection against damaging coastal storms. When sand dunes are destroyed, storm waves can rush inland, flood properties and put lives at risk. Stabilized dunes absorb wave energy and act as major sand storage areas, which replenish sand to eroded beaches during a storm.

Beach grass helps to build and stabilize dunes by trapping windblown sand. As the grass traps the sand, it builds the dunes higher and wider, which makes dunes more protective of the structures behind them. Since the program was introduced in 1989, more than 5 million stems of beach grass have been planted by dedicated volunteers.

DNREC’s Shoreline and Waterway Management Section coordinates the annual beach grass planting event. The section also implements beach replenishment and erosion control projects along Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay communities to enhance, preserve and protect private and public beaches.

Media Contact: Melanie Rapp, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 54


Nanticoke Creekwatchers’ volunteer training and kickoff event through Reclaim Our River Program set for March 12

DOVER – The Nanticoke Watershed Alliance (NWA) seeks enthusiastic, energetic volunteers to join the 2016 Nanticoke Creekwatchers Citizen Water Monitoring Program, which is set to launch its ninth season with a volunteer training and kickoff event Saturday, March 12 at Trap Pond State Park’s Baldcypress Nature Center in Laurel. This year’s kickoff will be held as part of the Reclaim Our River Program, which is cosponsored by DNREC and the Division of Watershed Stewardship to provide opportunities for Delawareans to learn about water quality and techniques that can be used to improve it.

Creekwatchers must attend the season kickoff for training or go to an alternate training session Sunday, March 20 at the NWA office in Vienna, Md. Training will provide an in-depth look at the program’s water quality monitoring protocol and an opportunity for hands-on experience with water quality monitoring equipment. Further, the training offers insight into the Creekwatchers program and its history, water quality issues and indicators. Since the inception of the program, more than 90 citizen scientists have participated, acting as the eyes and ears of the Nanticoke River and its connected waterways. No previous experience in water quality monitoring is required to become a Creekwatcher.

Every other week from late March through early November, Nanticoke Creekwatchers visit their adopted sites, make observations about sites and weather conditions, take measurements such as water clarity and dissolved oxygen, and obtain three water samples, which they deliver to designated drop-off locations. Samples are processed by Envirocorp Labs Inc. and Horn Point Lab. Envirocorp is a key program partner and provides $70,000 in free lab analyses each year.

Other 2016 program partners include DNREC, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science’s Integration and Application Network, Town Creek Foundation, Salisbury University’s Bacterial Source Tracking Lab, Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth, Delaware Technical Community College, RSVP Lower Shore and Delaware 50+. The NWA provides training, all water monitoring equipment and ongoing support for volunteers.

Data collected by Nanticoke Creekwatchers is used to produce an annual report card that details the health of the river and its tributaries and examines steps residents can take to reduce pollution. The 2015 Nanticoke River Report Card will be released in July 2016 at the annual Nanticoke River Wade-In. In addition, Creekwatchers data helps the NWA pinpoint water quality issues and informs outreach and restoration activities.

Interested volunteers may register for Nanticoke Creekwatchers training at creekwatchers2016.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator Beth Wasden at bethwasden@nanticokeriver.org or call 443-944-1175.

The Nanticoke Watershed Alliance is a consensus-building organization that works through partnerships to conserve the natural, cultural and recreational resources of the Nanticoke River Watershed. Partnership representation includes academia, industry, agriculture, development professionals, conservation groups, government and more.

The Reclaim Our River – Nanticoke Series is devoted to bringing monthly events, workshops and recreational activities to the Nanticoke River Watershed. The series offers participants fun opportunities to connect with Delaware’s waterways and provides important information on water quality that can help in protecting aquatic resources.

Media Contact: Phil Miller, DNREC Watershed Assessment and Management Section, 302-739-9939, philip.miller@delaware.gov

Vol. 46, No. 45


Nanticoke Creekwatchers’ volunteer training and kickoff event through Reclaim Our River Program set for March 12

DOVER – The Nanticoke Watershed Alliance (NWA) seeks enthusiastic, energetic volunteers to join the 2016 Nanticoke Creekwatchers Citizen Water Monitoring Program, which is set to launch its ninth season with a volunteer training and kickoff event Saturday, March 12 at Trap Pond State Park’s Baldcypress Nature Center in Laurel. This year’s kickoff will be held as part of the Reclaim Our River Program, which is cosponsored by DNREC and the Division of Watershed Stewardship to provide opportunities for Delawareans to learn about water quality and techniques that can be used to improve it.

Creekwatchers must attend the season kickoff for training or go to an alternate training session Sunday, March 20 at the NWA office in Vienna, Md. Training will provide an in-depth look at the program’s water quality monitoring protocol and an opportunity for hands-on experience with water quality monitoring equipment. Further, the training offers insight into the Creekwatchers program and its history, water quality issues and indicators. Since the inception of the program, more than 90 citizen scientists have participated, acting as the eyes and ears of the Nanticoke River and its connected waterways. No previous experience in water quality monitoring is required to become a Creekwatcher.

Every other week from late March through early November, Nanticoke Creekwatchers visit their adopted sites, make observations about sites and weather conditions, take measurements such as water clarity and dissolved oxygen, and obtain three water samples, which they deliver to designated drop-off locations. Samples are processed by Envirocorp Labs Inc. and Horn Point Lab. Envirocorp is a key program partner and provides $70,000 in free lab analyses each year.

Other 2016 program partners include DNREC, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science’s Integration and Application Network, Town Creek Foundation, Salisbury University’s Bacterial Source Tracking Lab, Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth, Delaware Technical Community College, RSVP Lower Shore and Delaware 50+. The NWA provides training, all water monitoring equipment and ongoing support for volunteers.

Data collected by Nanticoke Creekwatchers is used to produce an annual report card that details the health of the river and its tributaries and examines steps residents can take to reduce pollution. The 2015 Nanticoke River Report Card will be released in July 2016 at the annual Nanticoke River Wade-In. In addition, Creekwatchers data helps the NWA pinpoint water quality issues and informs outreach and restoration activities.

Interested volunteers may register for Nanticoke Creekwatchers training at creekwatchers2016.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator Beth Wasden at bethwasden@nanticokeriver.org or call 443-944-1175.

The Nanticoke Watershed Alliance is a consensus-building organization that works through partnerships to conserve the natural, cultural and recreational resources of the Nanticoke River Watershed. Partnership representation includes academia, industry, agriculture, development professionals, conservation groups, government and more.

The Reclaim Our River – Nanticoke Series is devoted to bringing monthly events, workshops and recreational activities to the Nanticoke River Watershed. The series offers participants fun opportunities to connect with Delaware’s waterways and provides important information on water quality that can help in protecting aquatic resources.

Media Contact: Phil Miller, DNREC Watershed Assessment and Management Section, 302-739-9939, philip.miller@delaware.gov

Vol. 46, No. 14


Delaware Wetlands Conference set for Feb. 3-4

Focus on advancing wetland science and conservation in the Mid-Atlantic region; Registration closes Jan. 27

DOVER – DNREC is pleased to host the 2016 Delaware Wetland Conference which focuses on advancing wetland science and conservation through its theme “Educate, Connect, Protect.” The wetlands conference – one of the largest gatherings of wetlands professionals on the Atlantic Coast – takes place Feb. 3 and 4 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, with an agenda this year expanded to two full days of presenting and sharing wetlands expertise.

“Wetlands play an important role in Delaware’s environment by improving water quality, providing habitat for fish and wildlife, and protecting our communities from flooding,” said DNREC Secretary Small, who will kick-off the conference by welcoming attendees from throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. “DNREC recognizes the Delaware Wetlands Conference as an extraordinary forum for wetlands professionals to connect and share their knowledge, ideas, and innovative projects that will not only improve our practices and policies but will continue to advance wetland conservation.”

The conference brings together nearly 300 wetlands professionals, students and environmental policy makers. They will take advantage of 43 diverse presentations, along with interactive workshops, abundant networking opportunities and an exhibition hall with nearly two dozen displays showcasing programs and products available to attendees.

DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program and the Coastal Training Program organized the conference that also features two keynote speakers who will highlight wetland research as it relates to global and local issues. On Feb. 3 Elizabeth Schuster, one of the first environmental economists hired by The Nature Conservancy, will discuss her work on the economic importance of wetland and coastal restoration. On Feb. 4, Dr. William “Bill” Mitsch, an internationally recognized wetland scientist and researcher, will speak on wetland science and where he sees it heading on a global scale.

New to the 2016 conference are two workshops focusing on communicating science. On Feb. 3, the first workshop, “Communicating Climate Change”, will be presented by Melanie Reding and Sarah Nuss of the Jacques Cousteau and Chesapeake Bay Virginia National Estuarine Research Reserves. Steve Raabe of OpinionWorks, Amy Jacobs of The Nature Conservancy and Erin McLaughlin of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will present the second workshop on Feb. 4 – “Reaching Your Audience: Accelerating Wetlands Restoration in the Chesapeake and Beyond.” This workshop introduces social marketing and uses local survey results to demonstrate how social marketing can be used to increase interest and participation in wetland restoration projects.

If you are interested in attending the 2016 Delaware Wetlands Conference, and have not yet signed up, online registration and the conference agenda are available at http://de.gov/dewetlandsconference. Interested parties may register for one or both days. Registration closes Jan. 27.

For more information on DNREC’s programs that restore and protect Delaware’s wetlands, visit the Wetland Monitoring & Assessment Program’s website at: http://de.gov/delawarewetlands or contact Brittany Haywood, outreach and communications specialist at 302-739-9939.

Media Contact: Melanie Rapp, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 10


Drainage in Delaware Bayshore communities to be topic of Dec. 2 public meeting in Milford

DOVER – Residents of Bayshore communities and other interested parties are invited to attend a DNREC public meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2 at the Carlisle Fire Company, 615 Front NW Front Street, Milford, DE 19963, to hear the results of a new engineering evaluation studying drainage issues along Delaware’s central Bayshore area. The meeting will be hosted by DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship, Drainage Section, and State Senator Gary Simpson (R-18th District, Milford) chair of the Delaware Bay Beach Work Group.

The Delaware Bay Beach Work Group was formed for the purpose of examining beach erosion, marsh drainage, flooding and related issues in the Bayshore communities of Pickering Beach, Kitts Hummock, South Bowers Beach, Slaughter Beach, Prime Hook Beach, Broadkill Beach and Lewes Beach, and making recommendations for a path forward to deal with these issues.

Work group members included state legislators representing these communities, DNREC shoreline and waterway staff and other local, state and federal officials. Their recommendations included the engineering evaluation, for which DNREC contracted with AECOM/URS Corporation, a national research and engineering firm with local offices in Delaware and Maryland.

The Delaware Bay Beaches Coastal Drainage Engineering Evaluation incorporated comments from residents at public meetings held in each community, documentation and investigation of issues and proposed solutions. Those attending the meeting will hear details about the evaluation, along with drainage design work and construction projects under consideration, and will have the opportunity for public comment.

For more information, visit http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/swc/shoreline/pages/delawarebaybeachworkgroup.aspx.

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

Vol. 45, No. 413