DNREC Seeks Volunteers for Delaware Coastal Cleanup Sept. 17

Volunteers picking up trash on the beach in a past Delaware Coastal Cleanup. (2017)

 

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is hosting the 35th annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to noon at 41 sites statewide to help keep the state’s beaches and waterways free of trash. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up for the one-day coordinated event when online volunteer registration opens on Monday, Aug. 1.

In addition, Delawareans and visitors are invited to join the month-long campaign starting Sept. 1 to clean up neighborhoods, green spaces and waterways throughout the state on days, times and at locations of their choice. The coordinated event and month-long campaign support Governor John Carney’s Keep DE Litter Free initiative.

“In 2019, we launched the Keep DE Litter Free initiative with the goal of building stronger communities and working together to keep our state beautiful by keeping our coastlines and outdoor spaces clear of litter,” Governor Carney said. “I thank our other state and local partners who plan and support the Delaware Coastal Cleanup, and I encourage all Delawareans to participate on cleanup day – and all year round.”

“DNREC encourages all Delawareans and visitors to make time to help keep our beaches, waterways and wetlands clean and free of trash throughout the year,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “The Coastal Cleanup is a great reminder that volunteers of all ages can make a difference, whether they sign up for the Sept. 17 statewide cleanup event or choose their own time, date and place to pick up trash.”

Volunteers picking up trash on the beach at Fox Point in New Castle County in a past Delaware Coastal Cleanup. (2019)
Volunteers picking up trash on the beach at Fox Point in New Castle County in a past Delaware Coastal Cleanup. (2019)

For the Sept. 17 coordinated cleanup, volunteers should sign up by Wednesday, Aug. 31 for their choice of sites through the Coastal Cleanup page at de.gov/coastalcleanup. Site captains with supplies will be on site to sign in volunteers and provide trash bags and directions. Although gloves, paper data cards and pencils will be available upon request, volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves and to use the online Coastal Cleanup reporting tool, when it goes live Sept. 1, to share their findings. Walkups are not encouraged due to volunteer site capacity limitations.

Find ideas about how to get involved in the 2022 Delaware Coastal Cleanup on Facebook and Twitter. Volunteers in both the coordinated event on Sept. 17 and the month-long campaign can post photos on facebook.com/DelawareDNREC for a chance to win a 2023 Delaware State Parks pass and a prize bag. Volunteers can post photos as often as they like throughout the month, with each photo counting as a one entry. All volunteers should also report their findings and are invited to share photos through the Coastal Cleanup page. Results will be updated during all month long and will appear on an interactive map.

Last year, nearly 600 volunteers filled about 400 bags, cleaning up 5,500 pounds of trash from waterways, wetlands and other natural areas. The top five trash items collected were: 7,671 cigarette butts; 2,921 plastic and glass beverage bottles and cans; 1,785 food containers; 846 plastic bags; and 381 balloons.

Cleaning up locally makes a big difference statewide and keeps trash from entering waterways and making its way to beaches and beyond. DNREC suggests several ways to help make a difference all year long:

  • Be proactive by picking up trash near your home to keep your neighborhood clean.
  • Follow a carry-in/carry out plan and take all trash with you when visiting outdoor spaces, like Delaware State Parks, DNREC wildlife areas, Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve locations, and county or local parks.
  • Pack a bag and rubber gloves when you take a walk, go for a hike, go hunting or fishing, etc., to collect and carry out trash you find along the way.
  • Recycle applicable items through in-home recycling or designated drop-off locations. Learn more at de.gov/recycling.

DNREC reminds everyone to wear gloves when picking up trash, wash hands thoroughly after cleanup activities, and follow all recent public area protocols, including the most current COVID-19 guidance.

More information and volunteer registration can be found at de.gov/coastalcleanup. Volunteers also can email questions to DNREC_Coastal_Cleanup@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. 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.


DNREC Honors Young Environmentalists, Youth Fishing Tournament Winners at Delaware State Fair

DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin and Governor John Carney with the 2022 DNREC Young Environmentalists: middle school honoree Anna Spence, high school honoree James Haley and elementary school honoree Tao Le Marchand; and Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. DNREC photo.

 

At the Delaware State Fair in Harrington today, Governor John Carney and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin honored three Delaware students as DNREC’s Young Environmentalists of the Year for their work to protect, restore or enhance our state’s natural resources, and the three winners of the 2022 Youth Fishing Tournament.

“DNREC’s Young Environmentalist awards are an annual reminder of how today’s young people are stepping up to take leadership roles in caring for our natural resources and advocating for the health of our environment. Today, we recognize three of these young Delawareans who are already making a difference today to help ensure a better tomorrow,” said Secretary Garvin. “We also recognize the three young anglers who caught the most fish in this year’s Youth Fishing Tournament, a conservation-minded event to introduce children to the joy of catching – and releasing – fish.”

Young Environmentalist of the Year Awards:

  • Elementary School:
    Tao Le Marchand, age 10, of Newark, who goes by Ty, is passionate about endangered species. He created his own foundation, Foxtrot, raised $400 for the Wolf Sanctuary of PA and advocated for wolves to be returned to the federal endangered species list by lobbying the White House. Ty also is active in North Star Elementary School’s Earth Club and plans to study zoology toward a career in wildlife conservation.
  • Middle School:
    Anna Spence, age 13, of Harrington, noticed Styrofoam cups strewn around the cafeteria and playground at Lake Forest Central Elementary. She created a presentation that she shared with her principal and superintendent, successfully advocating for change: replace Styrofoam with paper cups, which decompose much faster than Styrofoam.
  • High School:
    James Haley, age 15, of Bethany Beach, planned and executed his Eagle Scout environmental community service project with the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, leading a team to perform GPS mapping of submerged aquatic vegetation in tributaries of the Inland Bays. For four days this spring, James and the team mapped local tributaries and accrued 146 team hours of environmental community service. This mapping data will help restore and expand beds of seagrass in the Inland Bays, providing habitat for crustaceans and fish. James also earned the Scouts BSA 50th Anniversary Environmental Protection Agency Award and merit badges in the areas of animal studies, outdoor activities, earth science, and public health.

Now in its 29th year, DNREC’s Young Environmentalist of the Year Awards program recognizes Delaware students whose actions have helped protect, restore or enhance our natural resources by initiating an innovative project, practicing environmental stewardship, increasing public awareness or demonstrating environmental ethics. More information about the program can be found at de.gov/YoungEnvironmentalists.

2022 Youth Fishing Tournament Winners:

DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin and Governor John Carney with the 2022 Youth Fishing Tournament winners: Sussex County winner Brody Spencer, Kent County winner Dominic Webb, New Castle County and statewide winner Onna Crowley; Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long; and DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Dave Saveikis. DNREC photo.
DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin and Governor John Carney with the 2022 Youth Fishing Tournament winners: Sussex County winner Brody Spencer, Kent County winner Dominic Webb, New Castle County and statewide winner Onna Crowley; Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long; and DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Dave Saveikis. DNREC photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2022 Youth Fishing Tournament winners honored were:

  • Statewide and New Castle County winner Onna Crowley, age 13, of Clayton, took top honors by catching 18.8 pounds of fish in Lums Pond, including the biggest fish of the day statewide, a 12.1-pound carp.
  • Sussex County winner Brody Spencer, age 10, of Dagsboro, came in second place statewide, catching 7.19 pounds of fish at Ingrams Pond.
  • Kent County winner Dominic Webb, age 10, of Clayton took third place statewide, catching 5.25 pounds of fish at the Akridge Scout Reservation pond.

Established by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife and sponsored by the Delaware Natural Resources Police, the tournament introduces youth to the sport of fishing and teaches the catch-and-release approach to conservation. The 36th annual Youth Fishing Tournament was held June 4 at three locations, one in each county: Ingrams Pond in Sussex County, Akridge Scout Reservation in Kent County, and Lums Pond in New Castle County. More information about the annual tournament is available at de.gov/yft.

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

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DNREC Set to Begin Emergency Dredging Project Restoring Navigability in the Murderkill River

The Murderkill River, shown here where it meets the Delaware Bay at Bowers, will be dredged in August to improve navigation for commercial and recreational vessels. DNREC photo.

 

An emergency dredging project is set to begin and be completed by the end of August to restore navigability in the Murderkill River, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today. Permitted by and with modification approvals from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and DNREC regulators, the project calls for removing approximately 52,000 cubic yards of sediment from the river’s navigation channel. DNREC will then make beneficial reuse of the dredged sand to nourish up to 1,000 feet of eroding shoreline at South Bowers Beach.

Funding for the $2.3 million project comes from appropriations to DNREC made under fiscal year 2022 and 2023 Bond Bills, both of which named the Murderkill River as a dredging priority.

“This important state-funded dredging project in the Murderkill River will restore navigability of the channel while bolstering shoreline resiliency in South Bowers,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “It’s a win-win in two critical DNREC areas of responsibility: navigable waterways and infrastructure support. Thanks to our partners – the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the town of Bowers and the South Bowers Volunteer Fire Company – for working with us to bring a much-needed dredging project to fruition.”

U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure this project could begin.

“After working to secure the necessary federal permits from the Army Corps of Engineers, I’m so glad that this project will now be able to begin and restore the Murderkill River to its full potential,” said Senator Carper. “In the Senate, I’m leading the effort to pass bipartisan legislation that would support navigability in our waters for years to come. Enacting this legislation will ensure towns across our state can better access the help they need to maintain their infrastructure.”

The Murderkill River is a federally-authorized navigation project that requires periodic dredging to maintain the safety and navigable access to the river, critically important to commercial and emergency vessels as well as recreational boating. The river forms the southern boundary of the Town of Bowers – a popular boating area with its docks, DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife-owned boat launch and large parking area – before flowing into the Delaware Bay.

In early 2022, DNREC removed sand from the Murderkill Inlet’s navigation channel but was limited by having to use a land-based excavator, and navigation continued to be challenge at low tide, especially in the mile-long approach channel to the Inlet. Nautical dredging equipment to be deployed next month will deepen the channel. An onshore staging area, made possible through a temporary construction easement agreement between DNREC and the South Bowers Volunteer Fire Company, will help facilitate the project. Dredging will be carried out by Cottrell Contracting Corp. of Chesapeake, Va., with almost a century-long record of Eastern Seaboard infrastructure dredging.

“Nourishing the South Bowers shoreline is a vitally important defense of the coastal community against extreme weather, an impact of climate change,” said Jesse Hayden, DNREC Shoreline and Waterway Management Section administrator. “The beach-quality sand from this latest dredging project will be used to extend the area of an earlier beach replenishment project that also utilized dredged sand from the Murderkill’s navigation channel.”

With the project expected to start on or about Aug. 1, the U.S. Coast Guard soon will give notice for mariners to exercise caution and maintain safe distance from the dredging activity – to include floating and submerged pipelines in the Murderkill, and the dredge and support vessels in the area. The USCG also advises that commercial fishing nets, crab pots and other structures removed from the dredging area before work begins.

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


First 2022 Delaware Evidence of West Nile Virus Detected in DNREC’s Sentinel Chickens

No Human Cases of WNV Reported to Date in State; Department of Agriculture Urges Equine Owners to Vaccinate Animals

West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in Delaware the first time for 2022 in a sentinel chicken, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today. This initial finding was from a sentinel chicken station in southern New Castle County sampled by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Mosquito Control section and confirmed by the Delaware Public Health Laboratory on July 19. While there have been no reported WNV cases in humans this year in the state, Delawareans are reminded that the possibility of contracting mosquito-transmitted diseases, including WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), will continue until colder autumn temperatures in mid-October or later.

Blood samples are collected by the Mosquito Control section each week from early July into October from the state’s outdoor-caged sentinel chickens that are humanely housed and handled at 20 monitoring stations statewide. The blood samples are tested for WNV and EEE antibodies by the Delaware Public Health Laboratory. Sentinel chickens bitten by mosquitoes carrying WNV or EEE develop antibodies to these diseases but are otherwise unaffected. Mosquitoes can transmit both WNV and EEE to humans and horses.

Most people infected with WNV do not develop symptoms, but about 20% can develop a mild illness, including fever, body and muscle aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, and rash symptoms. A small number of people can develop serious illness involving neurological problems, paralysis, and possibly death. EEE is not as prevalent as WNV but can present more severe symptoms in humans and horses.

The public is reminded to take common-sense precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors in mosquito-prone areas, applying insect repellent containing 10 to 30% diethyltoluamide (DEET) in accordance with label instructions, and avoiding mosquito-infested areas and at times of peak mosquito activity around dusk, dawn and at night.

According to the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA), there were no equine cases of WNV or EEE in 2021. With the detection of WNV in a sentinel chicken this early in the season, the state veterinarian urges horse owners to contact their veterinarians as soon as possible to vaccinate horses and other equines against WNV and EEE. Both vaccines are highly effective in minimizing disease and may be the reason why Delaware had no equine cases in 2021. Horses that have been vaccinated in the past will need an annual booster shot. Neither disease has a specific drug treatment, and infections in horses are fatal in 70 to 90% of EEE cases and 30% of WNV cases.

Spraying to reduce mosquito populations in areas where WNV or EEE is detected may be initiated by the DNREC Mosquito Control section as warranted, based on factors to include mosquito population levels and mosquito species present in affected areas. To reduce mosquito-breeding habitat and chances of disease transmission, residents should drain or remove outdoor items that collect water, such as discarded buckets or containers, uncovered trashcans, stagnant birdbaths, unprotected rain barrels or cisterns, old tires, upright wheelbarrows, flowerpot liners, depressions in boat tarps, clogged rain gutters, corrugated downspout extenders, and unused swimming pools.

Horse owners can take several additional steps in the barn and around the farm to help protect horses from mosquito bites. Horses should be kept inside at dawn and dusk, peak hours for mosquito activity. Topical insect repellents labeled for use on horses may be applied. Wind generated by fans installed in horse stalls can also help deter mosquitoes. Water troughs or buckets should be emptied, cleaned, and refilled every 2-3 days to remove mosquito eggs or larvae.

More information about mosquitos and mosquito-borne diseases is available from the following resources:

  • For mosquito biology/ecology and control, contact the Mosquito Control section office in Dover at 302-739-9917.
  • For requests for mosquito relief in upstate areas from Dover north, contact Mosquito Control’s Glasgow field office at 302-836-2555.
  • For requests for mosquito relief in downstate areas south of Dover, contact Mosquito Control’s Milford field office at 302-422-1512.
  • For animal health questions, contact the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry and Animal Health section at 302-698-4500.
  • To report suspected cases of human WNV, call the Division of Public Health Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology toll-free at 888-295-5156.
  • For more information on West Nile virus or Eastern equine encephalitis, visit www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.

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 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts:
DNREC: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov
DDA: Stacey Hofmann, stacey.hofmann@delaware.gov

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Mud Mill Pond Boat Ramp to Close Temporarily for Dam Improvements

The dam at Mud Mill Pond near Marydel is to undergo renovation over the next six months to include replacing gates in the spillway and installation of stabilizing rip rap./DNREC photo

 

The Mud Mill Pond boat ramp and adjacent ramp parking lot near Marydel will be temporarily closed from Friday, July 22, 2022 through Friday, Feb. 3, 2023 due to construction activities associated with Mud Mill Pond dam improvements, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today.

Anglers who fish from a boat or shore from public fishing access areas can alternatively use the nearby Derby Pond boat ramp near Camden or Garrisons Lake boat ramp near Smyrna.

For more information regarding the boat ramp closure, contact the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries section at 302-739-9914.

For more information regarding dam construction activities, contact the DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship Dam Safety Program at 302-834-5557.

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 68,000 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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