DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: May 27-June 2

Reminder for the week: Know and use aids to navigation while boating

DOVER – To achieve public compliance with laws and regulations through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety, DNREC’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between May 27–June 2 made 3,991 contacts with anglers, boaters, and the general public, issuing 35 citations. Officers responded to 76 complaints regarding possible violations of laws and regulations or requests to assist the public. A Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence continued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and Michael N. Castle Trail.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police in the Community

On May 29, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers discussed the role of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers, answered questions regarding hunting, fishing and boating, and displayed a marine patrol vessel during career day at Lake Forest Elementary School in Felton.

On June 1, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers hosted the 33rd annual Youth Fishing Tournament attended by 165 children and their families who enjoyed a great day of fishing at three different ponds throughout the state. The tournament introduces its participants to the sport of fishing and teaches conservation through the practice of “Catch & Release.” For results of the tournament, visit 33rd Youth Fishing Tournament.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions

On May 30, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers responded to a report of a sailboat striking a dredge line on the Delaware River south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. The vessel operator, John Keegan, 72, of Lebanon, N.J., was cited for one count of inattentive operation of a motor vessel and released.

Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:

Wildlife Conservation: Shooting Canadian geese out of season (1).

Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Over-the-limit crab pots (1), possession of undersized blue crabs (2), crab pot tampering (1), trespass to fish (2), and unlicensed fishing (2). Commercial: Conch without a license (3).

Boating & Boating Safety: No life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (2), operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (4), operating a personal watercraft without required life jackets (1), failure to observe slow no wake (1), negligent operation of a motor vessel (1)*, inattentive operation of a motor vessel (1), no boating safety certificate (1), and operating a vessel without a vessel registration card in possession (1).

Public Safety: Discharge a firearm within 100 yards of a dwelling (1) and clamming in a prohibited area (1).

Other: Operating motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (2)*, trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (2), loitering (2), driving with a suspended or revoked license (1), inattentive driving (1), and improper passing on a roadway (1).

*Includes citation(s) issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.

DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife recognizes and thanks the majority of anglers, hunters, and boaters who comply with and support Delaware’s fishing, hunting, and boating laws and regulations. Citizens are encouraged to report fish, wildlife, and boating violations to the Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police by calling 302-739-4580 or through the DENRP Tip app on a smartphone, which can be downloaded free of charge by searching “DENRP Tip” via the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030, going online to de.gov/ogt, or using the DENRP Tip app. Verizon customers can connect to Operation Game Theft directly by dialing #OGT.

Are you AWARE?

Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind boaters to take time before getting underway to learn the aids to navigation and the waterways in which you will be traveling.

Aids to navigation is a system of buoys and markers that assist boaters in determining their position on the water and identify any potential dangers and waterway obstructions. Aids to navigation can be used to plot position and course on nautical charts, and also assist in choosing the preferred and safest route when out on the water.

To learn more about aids to navigation and safe boating, sign up to take a boater’s safety course by visiting our Boating Safety link.

To report boating, fisheries, and wildlife violations, please call the Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police 24-hour dispatch line at: 302-739-4580 or 1-800-523-3336.

Media Contact: Sgt. Brooke Mitchell, 302-382-7167, or Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913


DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife asks public to report sick or dead wild birds for West Nile virus monitoring

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Mosquito Control Section is seeking the public’s help in monitoring West Nile virus (WNV) in Delaware by reporting sick or dead wild birds that may have contracted the virus. WNV is a mosquito-transmitted disease of considerable concern to human health and to owners of unvaccinated horses.

DNREC’s Mosquito Control Section requests that the public report sick or dead wild birds of the following species only: crows, blue jays, cardinals, robins, hawks, or owls. Clusters of five or more sick or dead wild birds of any species should also be reported. Bird specimens should have been dead for less than 24 hours and not appear to have died from other obvious causes. Wild birds collected by Mosquito Control are processed by the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry & Animal Health Lab, and then submitted to the Division of Public Health (DPH) Laboratory for virus testing. Uncollected dead wild bird specimens are very unlikely to transmit WNV to humans or pets.

To report sick or dead birds, call Mosquito Control’s field offices between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday:

  • New Castle County and Kent County from Dover north, Glasgow office: 302-836-2555
  • Remainder of Kent County and Sussex County, Milford office: 302-422-1512

From July through mid- to late-October, the Mosquito Control Section also operates a statewide network of about 20 sentinel chicken stations in prime mosquito areas, collecting blood samples to be tested by the DPH Lab for WNV and eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), another mosquito-transmitted viral disease that affects humans and horses. The sentinel chicken virus test results help indicate where and when WNV or EEE has been transmitted by mosquitoes from wild bird hosts to other animals, possibly leading to an increased risk of exposure for humans or horses. Neither WNV nor EEE can be transmitted between horses, or from horses to people, or between people.

The period of greatest concern for disease transmission for WNV and EEE is late summer and early fall. WNV is transmitted to humans primarily by the common house mosquito, and possibly by the Asian tiger mosquito. Last year, Delaware had 10 reported WNV-human cases, two of which were fatal. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) logged 2,544 reported WNV-human cases in 2018 that resulted in 137 deaths, 27 of which occurred in our Mid-Atlantic region. In Delaware last year, five WNV-equine cases were reported, in which two unvaccinated horses had to be humanely euthanized.

Residents also are encouraged to call to report intolerable numbers of biting mosquitoes and request control services. Voicemail may be left after hours, or on weekends or holidays.

For more information, call Delaware Mosquito Control’s main office at 302-739-9917, or visit the Mosquito Control web pages.

For more information about West Nile virus or eastern equine encephalitis in humans, call the Delaware Division of Public Health at 302-744-4990 or 888-295-5156.

For more information about West Nile virus or eastern equine encephalitis in horses, or horse vaccines, call the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry and Animal Health Section at 800-282-8685 (Delaware only) or 302-698-4500.

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


Application deadline extended to June 30 for DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Youth Academies

DOVER – If you are a student aged 12 to 15 with an interest in natural resources and law enforcement, DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police are once again offering their popular and successful summer Youth Academies – with the deadline for applying extended to Sunday, June 30.

The Youth Academy is a five-day program designed to teach youth about boating safety, hunter safety, and how to protect our natural resources, while looking to nurture the relationship between DNREC Natural Resources Police officers and the community. Participants in the Youth Academy attend tuition-free.

This year’s offerings include two Basic Youth Academies and one Advanced Youth Academy:

Natural Resources Police Basic Youth Academy (Kent County) – Monday through Friday, July 8-12, Little Creek Hunter Education Training Center, 3018 Bayside Drive, Dover, DE 19901

Natural Resources Police Basic Youth Academy (New Castle County) – Monday through Friday, July 15-19, Ommelanden Hunter Education Training Center, 1205 River Road, New Castle, DE 19720

Natural Resources Police Advanced Youth Academy (New Castle County) – Tuesday through Saturday, July 23-27, Ommelanden Hunter Education Training Center, 1205 River Road, New Castle, DE 19720

The Basic Youth Academies are each limited to the first 20 qualified applicants, with priority given to those who have not already completed a hunter safety course or boating safety course when the academy begins. Applications must include a 250-word essay on why the applicant wants to take part in the academy and what Delaware’s natural resources mean to them. Students who complete the program will receive both their hunter and boating safety certifications.

The Advanced Youth Academy is for those who wish to continue learning what it is like to be a Natural Resources Police officer, as well as to learn additional outdoor skills. The Advanced Youth Academy is open to youth ages 12 to 15 years old that have either completed the Basic Youth Academy or have already earned their hunter safety and boating safety certifications. An overnight camping excursion is included and parent/guardian participation is mandatory for this portion.

The Advanced Youth Academy is limited to the first 15 qualified applicants, with priority given to those who have already completed the Basic Youth Academy. Applications must include a 500-word essay on either what the applicant learned from the Basic Youth Academy or, if they did not attend, what the applicant learned when they took their hunter and boating safety courses.

Applications are available online at de.gov/fwenforcement and at DNREC’s licensing desk in the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901.

Opportunities to support the Youth Academies are available. Without the generous support and donations from the business community, private organizations, and individuals, the youth academies would not be successful.

For more information regarding the Youth Academy, please contact Captain Brian Pollock at 302-365-8703 or email brian.pollock@delaware.gov.

Media Contacts: Sgt. Brooke Mitchell, DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-382-7167, or 302-739-9913, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902


DNREC allocates $158,728 to community environmental projects through state’s Community Involvement Advisory Council

DOVER – Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin announced today the awarding of the 2019 Community Environmental Project Fund (CEPF) grant awards to nine Delaware non-profit organizations totaling $158,728 in funding. The CEPF – administered through the state’s Community Involvement Advisory Council under DNREC supervision – supports community environmental projects that mitigate pollution, enhance the environment, or create outdoor recreational opportunities.

The CEPF was established under House Bill 192 in February 2004. The legislation authorizes DNREC to withhold 25 percent of all civil or administrative penalties collected by the Department for violations of environmental regulations. It requires the Department to return that portion of penalties collected as grants to non-profit organizations in communities where the violations occurred. In 2011, the legislature tightened the CEPF’s geographic focus by mandating that its funds be returned to the communities within the same drainage basin where the violations occurred.

The 2019 grant recipients and the projects associated with them are:

Calvary Christian Academy (CCA) is the recipient of a $20,000 CEPF grant for the Pollenating Rain Garden Project. Calvary students will create a functional rain garden area to reduce the amount of impervious surface, improve water quality, and reduce the amount of stormwater runoff leaving the CCA property. In addition to the educational signs and benches to be constructed, the school will develop a curriculum to support this area as a living laboratory to increase learning opportunities for students.

Delaware Wild Lands seeks to protect and improve the waterways and water resources within and around the organization’s Roberts Farm with its $9,636 CEPF grant. The project’s environmental enhancement components include restoration of an agricultural field and removal of a hazardous scrap tire pile. The organization creates environmental educational and community engagement components by purchasing equipment for use by local schools and community groups in a water quality-monitoring project.

The H.E.L.P. Initiative’s “Milford Strong” campaign is a $20,000 pollution mitigation and energy efficiency project. H.E.L.P stands for Healthy Home, Energy Efficient, Lead Safe, and People Centric. Staff and volunteers will conduct 100 healthy home and energy assessments. They will install energy-saving light bulbs and home safety measures, including lead paint test kits, smoke and carbon dioxide detectors.

The Delaware Museum of Natural History will receive $19,062 for the Environmental Enhancement and Recreational Opportunity, Evolution Trail Project. The museum will install a handicapped-accessible, and environmentally responsible, 959 x 6 foot porous asphalt surface. The museum receives over 80,000 visitors each year whose visits include environmental education.

The Central Baptist Community Development Corporation will receive a $20,000 CEPF grant for a low-income community solar-powered, pollution mitigation and community education pilot program. A local bank has donated a house to the CDC at 716 N. Pine S, in Wilmington. The house will be equipped with a 4KW solar power system. This project will serve as a model for energy savings for the 140-150 homes the CDC will acquire in the East Side Rising Initiative. Central Baptist will also use the project as a training vehicle for 5-10 solar installation trainees.

The Delaware Center for Horticulture will receive a $20,000 CEPF grant to plant native and urban-tolerant plants along a stretch of Delaware Avenue in Wilmington. The environmental enhancement project will mitigate stormwater runoff and improve natural resources at the site.

The City of Rehoboth Beach Grove Access Project ($20,000 CEPF grant) will support construction of a floating dock and canoe/kayak launch. The construction of the launch landing area will provide recreational access for fishing, kayaking, and tour boats, and help to stabilize the banks of the Lewes/Rehoboth Canal.

The City of Newark Redevelopment of the Rodney Complex Stormwater Management Project is an Environmental Enhancement and Recreational Opportunity Project that will receive a $20,000 CEPF grant to install to 5-7 interpretive signs at the Rodney Complex Stormwater Management site. The signage will explain the environmental enhancement features of stormwater wet pond management including flood mitigation, nutrient management, and protection of native species for the thousands of projected visitors to the site each year.

The Delaware Community Foundation will receive a $10,000 pollution mitigation grant on behalf of the Plastic Free Delaware, Plastic Pollution Action Committee. The foundation will receive the funds and administer the funds for the Coalition to support to hire a part-time project manager to oversee and coordinate the outreach and educational efforts of the coalition. The Plastic Pollution Action campaign will educate the public and elected officials about pollution generated by single-use plastic bags. The campaign is aimed at securing the participation of the public, restaurants, and retail food outlets in “Plastic-straws-by-request approaches to pollution mitigation.

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


DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police announce results from 33rd Annual Youth Fishing Tournament

DOVER – Under mostly sunny skies, 165 young anglers and their families gathered Saturday, June 1, at three Delaware ponds for DNREC’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police 33rd Annual Youth Fishing Tournament. All fish caught in the tournament were weighed and released, as young anglers learned a first-hand lesson in conservation.

The New Castle County location, Lums Pond near Bear, drew 77 young anglers casting lines; in Kent County, the Akridge Scout Reservation pond near Camden had 62 youngsters turn out; and in Sussex County, Ingrams Pond near Millsboro reeled in 26 participating young anglers.

When the day was done, 15-year-old Elise Britton of Middletown was the overall statewide winner, as well as the New Castle County winner, for the third year in a row, with a total weight of 24.17 pounds that included a 9.6-pound carp, the largest fish caught in this year’s tournament.

New Castle County winners, left to right: Statewide winner and New Castle County winner Elise Britton of Middletown; Sean Jones, first place ages 12-15; Wesley Jones, first place ages 4-7; and Tyler Trzonkowski, first place ages 8-11. With them are DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Trainee Michael Lano, Officer 1st Class Thomas Ritterhoff, and Officer 1st Class Bryan Whittington at Lums Pond near Bear.

Other big fish included a 1.9 pound largemouth bass caught at the Akridge Scout Reservation by Kent County winner Kirra Noble of Frederica and a 0.71 pound largemouth bass caught at Ingrams Pond by Camrin Croney of Ocean View. The smallest fish of the day at each location were caught by: Morgan Stonebraker, with a 0.004 pound killifish from Lums Pond; Lyla Hughes, with a 0.04 pound bluegill from the Akridge Scout Reservation pond; and Cohen Betts, with a 0.02 pound bluegill from Ingrams Pond.

This year’s county winners and the overall statewide winner will be invited to a special trophy presentation on Governor’s Day, Thursday, July 25, at the 2019 Delaware State Fair in Harrington.

New Castle County winners

Other New Castle County winners at Lums Pond, by age group and total weight of fish caught, were:
Ages 4 through 7
First place – Wesley Jones, age 7, of Wyoming, 13.35 pounds
Second place – Landon Gonzalez, age 6, of Newark, 4.58 pounds
Third place – Mikey Hopkins, age 4, of New Castle, 1.09 pounds
Ages 8 through 11
First place – Tyler Trzonkowski, age 10, of Middletown, 2.62 pounds
Second place – Jonathon Pollock, age 11, of Middletown, 2.37 pounds
Third place – Jacob Halter, age 10, of Townsend, 1.84 pounds
Ages 12 through 15
First place – Sean Jones, age 12, of Wyoming, 5.72 pounds
Second place – Foster Wilkins, age 14, of Landenberg, Pa., 4.12 pounds
Third place – Jenaya Vann, age 14, of Bear, 3.41 pounds

Kent County winners

Kent County winner Kirra Noble of Frederica shows off her trophy and other prizes, with DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Officer 1st Class Nate Valenti and Officer 1st Class Shane Sapp at Akridge Scout Reservation pond near Camden.

At the Akridge Scout Reservation pond, Kirra Noble, age 9, of Frederica, was the day’s overall winner with a total of 8.02 pounds of fish. Other Kent County winners were:
Ages 4 through 7
First place – Wyatt Meisinger, age 6, of Dover, 1.12 pounds
Second place – Brielle Douglas, age 7, of Middletown, 0.75 pounds
Third place – Collin Meisinger, age 5, of Dover, 0.65 pounds
Ages 8 through 11
First place – Elyse Fuller, age 11, of Camden, 2.13 pounds
Second place – Hayley Walgren, age 11, of Dover, 1.79 pounds
Third place – Amanda Lee, age 10, of Milford, 1.31 pounds
Ages 12 through 15
First place – Ethan Wong, age 15, of Frederica, 4.62 pounds
Second place – Dominic Garcia, age 14 of Smyrna, 4.52 pounds
Third place – Garrett Payne, age 14, of Dover, 4.28 pounds

Sussex County winners

At Ingrams Pond, Luke Hitchens, age 12, of Dagsboro, was the day’s overall winner with a total of 5.39 pounds of fish. Other Sussex County winners were:

Sussex County winners, left to right: John Timmons V, first place ages 4-7; Cohen Betts, first place ages 8-11; Camrin Croney, first place ages 12-15; and Sussex winner Like Hitchens. With them is DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Cpl. Adam Roark at Ingrams Pond near Millsboro.

Ages 4 through 7
First place – John Timmons V, age 7, of Georgetown, 3.94 pounds
Second place – Landon Cathell, age 7, of Laurel, 1.53 pounds
Third place – Colton Perdue, age 6, of Selbyville, 1.41 pounds
Ages 8 through 11
First place – Cohen Betts, age 9, of Milton, 2.41 pounds
Second place – Tyler Tranfaglia, age 11, of Dagsboro, 2.02 pounds
Third place – Madison Culley, age 8, of Laurel, 1.80 pounds
Ages 12 through 15
First place – Camrin Croney, age 13, of Ocean View, 2.82 pounds
Second place – Ava Puddicombe, age 12, of Laurel, 2.23 pounds
Third place – Carmela Marzullo, age 13, of Georgetown, 0.42 pounds

Tournament winners received trophies and prizes, and all participants received prizes. This year’s tournament sponsors and supporters included statewide donor Cabela’s, and the following donors listed by county:

  • New Castle County – Almars Outboards, Betts Garage, and Reynolds Auto Collision
  • Kent County – Dover Walmart, Camden Walmart, Harrington Food Lion, Milford Food Lion, Williamsville Country Store, and Haass’ Family Butcher Shop
  • Sussex County – Rick’s Bait and Tackle, BJ’s, Giant Food, Dairy Queen, McDonald’s, Dewey Beach Lions Club, Funland, Hook ’em and Cook ’em Bait and Tackle, Jungle Jim’s, Lewes Harbour Marina, Lingo Marine, Old Inlet Bait and Tackle, Ice House Bait and Tackle, Shorts Marine, The Lead Pot, White Water Mountain, and A1 Sanitation

The Youth Fishing Tournament was established to introduce youth to the sport of fishing and to teach the catch-and-release approach to conservation. The tournament, held annually in June, is open to youth ages 4 through 15. For more information on the Youth Fishing Tournament, please call 302-739-9913 or visit Youth Fishing Tournament.

Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/Delaware-Fish-Wildlife-Natural-Resources-Police.

Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Twitter, https://twitter.com/DE_FW_NRPolice.

Contact: Sgt. Brooke Mitchell, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-382-7167, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 49, No. 150