Governor Carney Signs Clean Water for Delaware Act

Legislation Highlighted by $50 Million Clean Water Trust, Water Resources Funding for Underserved Communities

LEWES, Del. –  Governor John Carney on Thursday signed into law House Bill 200, the Clean Water for Delaware Act, which creates a new Clean Water Trust to protect Delaware waterways and rebuild Delaware’s drinking water infrastructure with a focus on underserved communities.

HB 200, sponsored by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, establishes a framework for assessing needs and planning to implement projects that support Delaware’s longstanding efforts to improve the quality of the state’s water supply and waterways. The Act also calls for creating the Delaware Clean Water Trust and is supported by $50 million in the fiscal year 2022 budget as a funding source for water quality and water-related projects, giving it the financial clout that previous efforts at passing clean water legislation lacked.

“All Delawareans deserve clean water. The Clean Water for Delaware Act and our new Clean Water Trust will help us deliver on that promise,” said Governor Carney. “This legislation and unprecedented investment, which had bipartisan support, will help us protect our waterways for future generations of Delawareans, and upgrade our infrastructure to make sure all Delaware families have access to clean drinking water. Thank you to Representative Longhurst, Senator Townsend, the Delaware Nature Society and all the advocates who have worked on this issue for years.”

“In Delaware, the quality of our water resources is directly linked to the health and vibrancy of our communities up and down the state. Whether it’s water and wastewater infrastructure to support smart development in New Castle County, the needs of our agricultural industry downstate, or the challenges our coastal communities face with flooding and sea level rise, so much falls under the banner of clean water in Delaware,” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst. “My goal with the Clean Water for Delaware Act was to create an innovative new program to fund projects that would tackle water quality challenges on many fronts. We will help to right the wrongs of the past and, perhaps most importantly, we will set Delaware on a path to a future where people from all walks of life can enjoy the beauty and splendor of our streams, rivers, lakes and beaches.”

For the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Delaware Health and Social Services and other state agencies, the Clean Water for Delaware Act goes much deeper into managing the state’s water resources. It spans numerous water quality programs whose funding will be supported by the Clean Water Trust, including infrastructure for drinking water, stormwater and wastewater, and covering programs for drainage, waterway management and beach preservation, and many other water-related projects funded by separate state and federal resources among them the conservation reserve enhancement program, conservation cost-sharing and tax ditches.

One of the major environmental openings is the Act’s support of the Governor’s Clean Water Initiative for Underserved Communities that is part of DNREC’s work with the state’s low-income, underserved communities. The initiative, which was announced today, can be found here.

“I want to recognize Carney, Representative Longhurst and the entire General Assembly, and all stakeholders for their support in giving DNREC additional tools to help the state realize the goal of Clean Water for all Delawareans,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “With this legislation, through the Clean Water Trust, we will be able to bring more resources to bear and more partners to the table to address the water challenges of our state. And though the Governor’s Clean Water Initiative, state agencies, particularly DHSS and DNREC, are in a position to lift those who until now might have been thwarted by circumstances, costs or lack of community governance structure from their right to safe drinking water and proper wastewater treatment.”

The Act also contains a passage that “it is important that priorities for clean water projects in this State be given to projects that utilize green infrastructure and enhancement of natural systems to provide ecological benefits that improve water quality, demonstrate a high ratio of nutrient or pollution reduction to the amount of funding, and improve of community resilience to extreme weather, sea level rise, and other climate impacts.” And language for creating of the Clean Water Trust is explicit that “Existing federal and State funding resources alone are inadequate to meeting the State’s current and future demand for clean water projects.”

“House Bill 200 and the new clean water funding investments are a game changer for Delaware,” said Delaware Nature Society Interim Executive Director Joanne McGeoch. “Clean water is critical to Delaware’s environment, wildlife, economy, food supply, and public health. HB 200 will ensure that this vital resource is protected today and for future generations.”

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DNREC to Host White Clay Creek State Park Master Plan Public Meeting

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will host a virtual meeting for the public to review and comment on the White Clay Creek State Park Master Plan proposed final draft from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 2. The proposed final draft and instructions to join the virtual meeting are available at www.destateparks.com/whiteclaymasterplan.

Those interested in commenting during the public meeting must first register by noon, Aug. 2, at www.destateparks.com/whiteclaymasterplan or by calling 302-739-9209. All public comments submitted, both at the meeting or in writing, prior to Tuesday, Aug. 17, will be reviewed before the White Clay Creek State Park Master Plan is finalized.

The purpose of the master plan is to provide a vision and a framework for White Clay Creek State Park for the next 10 years. Attendees are encouraged to review the draft plan online in advance.

Since 2018, the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation held four open houses and conducted an online survey to gather public input and begin the planning process for the master plan. The division encouraged and maintained an open dialogue with park users and individuals interested in the park, held an open house on the preliminary draft master plan in 2019 and welcomed written and electronic comments. More than 1,400 participants provided feedback through the process. All comments received were thoroughly evaluated for inclusion in the plan.

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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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


DNREC, DPH Offer Tips About Ticks

Summer in Delaware is all about the great outdoors – biking and hiking, backyard and beach days, gardening and grass cutting. These time-honored summer activities can expose outdoor enthusiasts to unwanted guests – ticks. Depending on the type of tick, their irritating bite can transmit a variety of pathogens that can cause illnesses ranging from mild to serious.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control in partnership with the Delaware Division of Public Health have launched new web pages to educate the public about ticks, including where they are found, how to identify different types and what precautions to take before and after exposure to ticks, as well as information about tick-borne pathogens.

Tick facts include:

  • Tick Biological Aide Sierra Quiles, demonstrating tick-safe attire: light-colored clothing and pants tucked into socks. DNREC photos.
    Tick Biological Aide Sierra Quiles, demonstrating tick-safe attire: light-colored clothing and pants tucked into socks. DNREC photos.

    In Delaware, ticks are everywhere, but most bites occur in backyards.

  • Ticks do not jump or fall out of trees; they wait on grass or other plants for a host to walk by so they can grab on.
  • Ticks are active year-round, not just in late spring/early summer which is prime “tick season.”
  • Several different types of ticks are found in Delaware, and several types can carry different pathogens that can infect humans including Lyme disease.

Recommended precautions include:

  • Keep grass short and remove brush from the yard to reduce tick habitat.
  • Wear long pants tucked into socks and long sleeves in areas with high tick populations to help keep ticks from reaching skin.
  • When returning from outdoor activities, check for ticks and remove any from skin as soon as possible to reduce the chance of disease transmission.
  • Following exposure to tick-prone areas or tick bites, watch for symptoms of common illnesses caused by tick-borne pathogens and seek medical attention as needed.

For more information, visit the DNREC website at de.gov/ticks and the DPH website at de.gov/lyme.

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 Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 65,000 acres of public land. 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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DNREC to Close Section of Tri-Valley Trail for Repairs

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will close a section of the Tri-Valley Trail at White Clay Creek State Park for drainage repairs starting Monday, July 12. The section of affected spans from Smith Mill Road to Paper Mill Road/Corner Ketch Road. Repairs are expected to last up to one week.

The Tri-Valley Trail is a popular ADA-accessible trail that joins White Clay Creek State Park’s accessible docks for fishing and wildlife viewing, hay wagon rides and primitive group camping.

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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