Port Mahon Fishing Pier to Close for Emergency Repairs

The Port Mahon pier east of Dover is currently closed for emergency repairs.

 

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has closed the Port Mahon Fishing Pier off Port Mahon Road east of Dover until further notice for emergency repairs after a broken support piling was found during a routine inspection. The pier’s closure by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife is a precautionary safety measure.

The support piling will be repaired as soon as possible, at which time DNREC will reopen the pier.

For more information, call the DNREC Fisheries section at 302-739-9914.

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

###


DNREC Parks Director Earns National Award

DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation Director Ray Bivens /DNREC photo

 

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced Division of Parks and Recreation Director Ray Bivens has received the 2021 National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) Conference Distinguished Service Award Sept. 10 during the NASPD’s annual conference.

NASPD states on its website that “The Distinguished Service award is given to a state park director who has demonstrated a long-term, sustained record of professional accomplishment in the field of park and recreation management.”

“Ray is the perfect recipient of this national award. He is an innovative problem solver and leader whose passion for the environment, people and our state park system directly benefit the millions of people who visit Delaware State Parks each year,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “He is a true steward of park lands with a customer-centric focus who pushes his team to excel and provide the public with enjoyable experiences within our state parks.”

For 30 years, Bivens has dedicated his career to park stewardship with a passion for natural and cultural resources, customer service, training, partnerships and staff development. He is a hands-on leader who often works alongside Delaware State Parks field staff to gain perspective of the visitor experience.

He has placed a focus on youth during his 18-year tenure with Delaware State Parks, and played a lead role in creating the Delaware Children in Nature plan and the creation of the First State Heritage Park in Dover. One of his first acts as director was to establish the Delaware Youth Conservation Corps. Other accomplishments include having a key role in the creation of the Trap Pond and Killens Pond state park nature centers, and the development of multiple new trails and playgrounds.

Under Bivens’s leadership, the Delaware State Parks system, administered by the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation, has seen tremendous growth and broken records in various areas, including camping/cabin stays, volunteer hours, park attendance, and revenue. Park users generate 65% of the revenue utilized to operate and maintain the parks. A recent economic impact study concluded that out-of-state visitors generate close to $400 million in impact on the Delaware economy thanks to the state park system. Other milestones include the dedication Delaware’s 17th state park, Auburn Valley, in 2018 and the creation of the division’s first strategic plan in 2020.

In 2016, the division was selected as the only small state to be awarded the National Gold Medal as the best managed state park system for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA). Delaware State Parks is currently a finalist for the 2021 Gold Medal award to be announced later this month.

“Delaware State Parks has an abundance of natural and cultural resources,” Bivens said, “but our greatest resource are the dedicated staff and volunteers who passionately give of their time and talents.”

Prior to being named Delaware’s eighth state park director in 2013, Bivens served as the division’s chief of interpretation and operations section manager. Bivens’s natural resources career started as a teenager in the Maryland Youth Conservation Corps. He served as a park naturalist for various Maryland state parks including Rocky Gap, Tuckahoe and Point Lookout state parks. Bivens and his wife, Becky Bivens, reside in Frederica.

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

###


Plan to Connect Donovan Smith Manufactured Home Community Gets Important Conditional Approval

Donovan Smith was required to cordon off areas where wastewater surfacing has occurred and pump the sewage to mitigate further wastewater surfacing and groundwater pollution within the manufactured home community.

 

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today plans to connect the Donovan Smith Manufactured Home Community to the Lewes Board of Public Works sewer system are proceeding following issuance of a conditional letter of approval of the state-funded loan mechanism that will provide financing for the connection.

The community owner’s lender had to sign off on the financing arrangement in order for the state-funded loan for the connection to proceed, and a conditional approval has been secured by the owner, DNREC confirmed Monday, following months of negotiation.

Donovan Smith was chosen as a pilot project for Delaware’s Clean Water Initiative for Underserved Communities – with DNREC, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, and the Delaware State Housing Authority partnering at Governor John Carney’s behest to develop a priority list for underserved communities in the state that have longtime water and wastewater issues. The combination of DNREC enforcement of wastewater regulations and financial help for Donovan Smith aims to end water pollution at the site by moving the community from septic systems to the Lewes central sewer system. The Clean Water Initiative will use the approach being piloted with Donovan Smith to institute water and wastewater improvements in other similar communities.

“There are a number of manufactured home communities in our state — especially downstate — with longtime septic issues where putting the cost of a sewer connection on the residents would be a tremendous financial burden. Finding a way to mandate the sewer connection without burdening the residents or possibly bankrupting the park — and leaving the residents without anywhere to live — is the tightrope we must walk, and which the state financing supported by Gov. Carney is making possible,” DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin said. “We are working to make a difference in the lives of these residents and in the environment, one step at a time.”

DNREC also announced it has issued a second Notice of Violation to Donovan Smith Mobile Home Park (MPH), LLC following an initial NOV issued in July. The second NOV was issued Sept. 13 after a compliance inspection and two environmental complaint investigations found multiple additional violations associated with several small onsite wastewater treatment and disposal systems within the community that were not previously addressed in the July NOV. One of the violations was a collapsing septic tank with wastewater overflowing and ponding on the grounds – with no barrier or fencing preventing human or pet contact with untreated wastewater, a significant public health hazard.

The first NOV documented the Donovan Smith MHP’s ongoing noncompliance and established deadlines for Donovan Smith to correct the problem and move forward on the sewer connection with financing from the Clean Water Initiative. According to the latest enforcement notice, although DNREC received updates from Donovan Smith concerning interim corrective actions taken, initiation of the required system pump-outs and submission of a corrective action plan did not occur within the timeframes established in the July NOV.

This second NOV cites Donovan Smith MHP for these delays, as well as additional violations that have occurred since July. And although Donovan Smith has since initiated system pump-outs and submitted a preliminary corrective action plan, this second NOV requires additional interim corrective actions. The DNREC enforcement measure also calls for amendments to the corrective action plan to address additional violations, monthly communication with the community residents on the status of corrective actions, and more rigorous inspection and reporting to mitigate additional environmental and public health concerns until the sewer connection is achieved.

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 Water manages and protects Delaware’s water resources. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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


DNREC to Begin Construction on Pomeroy Trail  Lighting in White Clay Creek State Park

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will begin construction this week on new lighting along the Pomeroy Trail in White Clay Creek State Park.

The $98,000 project includes installation of 11 light poles to light a roughly 1,300-foot segment of the trail, which will be consistent with lighting along the trail near North College Avenue. Once complete, the trail will provide a lit corridor between downtown Newark to the City of Newark’s Fairfield Crest Trail. 

The segment of the Pomeroy Trail that will be under construction will be closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, but will be accessible on nights, weekends and when work is not occurring.

Construction is expected to be completed in late October.

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.

###


DNREC to Host Auburn Valley Master Plan Community Meeting

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will host a community meeting to discuss updates to the Auburn Valley Master Plan, including current and future recreational, residential and commercial developments that are part of the master plan area, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 17, at the Center for the Creative Arts in Yorklyn.

The division will present updates, plans and visual representations of trails, site developments, and residential and commercial projects. Attendees will also be able to view completed work, including new trails, a pavilion, a historic bridge replacement, new office and relocation of Gun Club Road from the flood plain. The public is invited to view the updates and speak with Division of Parks and Recreation staff as well as representatives from private developers at any time during the meeting.

The goals of the Master Plan are to clean up a contaminated watershed, expand public recreation opportunities, and create a vibrant and thriving community with residential, commercial and recreational aspects. Work has been ongoing for more than a decade and has included creation of Delaware’s 17th state park, Auburn Valley State Park, in a formerly industrial area.

To maintain COVID-19 safety, attendees should wear a mask and will circulate among stations with information about the master plan elements. The Center for the Creative Arts is located at 410 Upper Snuff Mill Row, Yorklyn.

In addition to the meeting, members of the public may view the master plan updates and submit comments at www.destateparks.com/AVSPmasterplan starting Sept. 17.

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.

 

###