DNREC offers new cycle of Delaware’s Universal Recycling Grant and Low Interest Loan Program

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances is offering another opportunity under the Universal Recycling Grants and Low Interest Loan Program to help Delaware organizations support the state’s municipal solid waste (MSW) diversion goal of 60 percent diversion of MSW by Jan. 1, 2020. The most recent statistics from 2017 place Delaware at a 43.1 percent diversion rate, compared to the National Diversion Rate, which stands at 34.7 percent as of 2015.

“Statistics show that Delaware is already a national leader in recycling, but we know we still have room to grow under the Universal Recycling law, which guarantees access for recycling to all residents of the First State whether at home, work, school, or play,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “The goal of this grant program is to help organizations within Delaware increase diversion to meet and exceed our statewide goals. We encourage collaborative and creative solutions to help Delaware raise the bar and keep recycling moving in the right direction.”

DNREC, in collaboration with the Recycling Public Advisory Council (RPAC), is offering the following opportunities:

Open/Competitive Programs (total funding: $210,000): This category focuses on projects that promote five key areas identified by RPAC: leveraging data to increase recycling; identifying new or existing markets to accept Delaware’s diverted materials; identifying and measuring ways to educate and encourage recycling or waste reduction behavior change; establishing recycling and/or waste reduction programs within a school, district, or university; and establishing programs to support municipal or county-led waste diversion initiatives. In this category Projects that support the goals outlined in 7 Del. Code §6055 will be considered even if they fall outside of the above parameters.

Food Waste Reduction Initiatives Program (total funding: $100,000): Projects within this category must be directed at ways to help the food service/restaurant industry reduce the amount of food waste going to Delaware landfills.

School Field Trip Program (total funding: $80,000): Funding for school bus companies to take students/classes from a single grade level from every school in Delaware to the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) Education Center located in New Castle. This program is open to any public or private school in Delaware.

Application forms and the guidance document are available at Delaware recycling grants and loans, or via Delaware’s recycling website at recycling.delaware.gov. Applicants are advised to read the guidance document prior to submitting their applications. Applications will be due to DNREC by the close of business Friday, July 12, 2019. Due to the limited amount of funding, partial grants might be awarded based on RPAC’s discretion. RPAC and DNREC emphasize that applicants for grants and low-interest loans do not need to be recycling experts to put forward a recycling grant proposal. DNREC highly encourages creative solutions and collaboration among applicants.

To learn more about Delaware Recycles, or for assistance with a grant application, call 302-739-9403 or email recycle@delaware.gov.

Source Water Protection Subcommittee to meet May 30 in Dover

DOVER – The Source Water Assessment Plan (SWAP) Subcommittee of the Source Water Assessment and Protection Program will meet from 10 a.m. to noon, Thursday, May 30, in the Training Room of Tidewater Utilities at 1100 South Little Creek Road, Dover, DE 19901.

The SWAP Subcommittee’s meeting agenda can be found on the Delaware Public Meeting Calendar at https://publicmeetings.delaware.gov/Meeting/62635.

For more information about the Source Water Assessment and Protection Program, please visit http://delawaresourcewater.org, or contact Source Water Program Hydrologist Douglas Rambo at 302-739-9945.

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

Vol. 49, No. 135

DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife recommends think twice before ‘rescuing’ young wildlife

‘If you care, leave them there’

DOVER – Whether in their own backyards or while taking a walk outdoors, Delawareans are likely to encounter young wildlife this time of year. DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife reminds well-meaning Delawareans that when encountering young wildlife of any species, the best thing you can do is to leave the animals alone.

While some young animals appear to be abandoned, they usually are not, with their mothers nearby watching over them and waiting for you to move on. Many wildlife species, including white-tailed deer, leave their young while they forage for food, visiting the young only a few times a day, with the young animals following their natural instinct to lie quietly, protecting them from predators.

Removing or handling wildlife can be harmful to both humans and wildlife. Precautions to take with both juvenile and adult wild animals include:

  • If you see a young wild animal alone, watch from a distance to see if its mother returns, which could take several hours.
  • Be aware that wild animals can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous, especially if they are in pain.
  • Wild animals can carry parasites such as fleas and ticks or diseases such as rabies that can affect you or your pets.
  • Remember that it is illegal to raise or keep any wild animal in Delaware.

Taking a wild animal from the wild will almost certainly ensure that it will not survive, so DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife advises, “If you care, leave them there.”

For additional information to help determine if an animal is injured or orphaned, or exhibiting normal behavior and doesn’t need to be rescued, visit the Delaware Council of Wildlife Rehabilitators and Educators website at https://www.dewildliferescue.com/index.html.

If a young wild animal appears injured or you are certain its parent is dead, please contact the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Wildlife Section during business hours Monday-Friday at 302-739-9912, or after hours and weekends at 800-523-3336, to determine the appropriate course of action.

Follow the Division of Fish & Wildlife on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/DelawareFishWildlife.

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

Vol. 49, No. 134

DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife begins treating downstate ponds for nuisance aquatic weeds

DOVER – With inland water temperatures rising and aquatic plants emerging, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife has begun annual treatment of select downstate public ponds for nuisance aquatic weeds. These nuisance weeds can overtake ponds and crowd out beneficial plant species and prevent fishing and boating access. Blairs Pond and Tub Mill Pond near Milford are being treated this year. Signs are posted at the boat ramp area of each pond on the day of treatment.

Hydrilla, a non-native, invasive plant that likely entered the state through the aquarium trade, is the primary target of the treatments through application of Sonar, an EPA-registered and approved aquatic herbicide containing fluridone. Sonar has been used in Delaware since the 1980s, and has proven environmentally-compatible and effective for controlling hydrilla. Sonar does not pose any threat to wildlife, including fish, nor are there any restrictions on fishing or fish consumption as a result of these treatments.

The only special precaution is a 30-day restriction on water use from the ponds from the date of treatment. Residents and farmers alongside the ponds and those directly downstream should not use pond water to irrigate their gardens, yards, or agricultural lands for 30 days following treatment to avoid possible damage to their plantings.

An annual permit from DNREC’s Division of Water is required to withdraw water from Delaware’s freshwater ponds, with holders of these permits receiving advanced notice of the upcoming pond treatments. To obtain an irrigation permit from the Division of Water, please call Bill Cocke, Water Allocation Section, at 302-739-9945. More information can be found on the DNREC website at Water Allocation.

Only state-managed ponds with public angler access are treated since the treatments are funded through the Federal Sport Fish Restoration Program and state fishing license funds. While the Division of Fish & Wildlife does not treat private ponds, it can provide a list of businesses licensed in Delaware to treat nuisance aquatic weeds.

To prevent the spread of invasive aquatic vegetation to other ponds and waterways, anglers and boaters are encouraged to remove all hydrilla and other aquatic plants from their boats, trailers, and gear before leaving the boat ramp area.

For more information on nuisance aquatic weed treatment of state-managed ponds, please call the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.

Follow the Division of Fish & Wildlife on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/DelawareFishWildlife.

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

Vol. 49, No. 133

DNREC’s Brandywine Zoo wins international avian husbandry award

Delaware’s zoo also recognized nationally for data collection

WILMINGTON – DNREC’s Brandywine Zoo has won a Plume Award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Avian Scientific Advisory Group, recognizing the zoo’s achievements in avian husbandry and conservation. The Brandywine Zoo is one of only three AZA-member facilities internationally to receive the prestigious award this year. The Plume Award was for the zoo’s American Kestrel Monitoring Program, recognized by the AZA as a “Noteworthy Achievement for an Avian In-Situ Program” – meaning “in the field,” or studying animals in the wild.

“We have always known that the Brandywine Zoo is an exceptional facility, and this international recognition with the Plume Award attests to the zoo’s standing,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “This award recognizes the conservation work the zoo does outside the facility, not just the valuable information it collects from the animals under its care. The zoo’s American Kestrel Monitoring Program is contributing to international studies and larger, collaborative research projects, so data collected here in Delaware will ultimately help the recovery of North America’s smallest raptor.”

The American kestrel was listed as endangered in Delaware in 2013. Since 2014, the zoo, with the assistance of DNREC’s Divisions of Fish & Wildlife and Parks & Recreation, has installed 74 nest boxes on both private and public lands across the state from parks to state wildlife and conservation areas. The zoo spearheads the Delaware Kestrel Partnership (DKP), a group of organizations within the state working to better understand causes of the kestrel’s decline in Delaware. The DKP is made up of the Brandywine Zoo and DNREC’s Divisions of Fish & Wildlife and Parks & Recreation, Delaware Nature Society, Delmarva Ornithological Society, Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, Delaware Wildlands, and the American Kestrel Partnership, a project of The Peregrine Fund.

The kestrel monitoring project is the first in-situ project run by the zoo, providing zoo staff valuable opportunities to contribute to national research projects while also directly studying a locally-endangered species. Research focuses on where and why kestrels are nesting in the state, to help inform long-term conservation and habitat management decisions. Zoo staff and volunteers monitor nest boxes for activity, and band adults and chicks with U.S. Geological Survey-numbered leg bands for identification. Feather samples collected from chicks are submitted to the American Kestrel Genoscape Project, which is creating a DNA map of kestrels across North America, to better assess where migrating adults from other studies may come from. As the cause of the kestrel’s decline is still unknown, banding and feather sampling are just two ways of understanding where kestrels are going, whether they return to the same areas for nesting annually, and how the species’ dispersal may impact the raptors’ long-term survival.

Other data collected by the Brandywine Zoo has recently been recognized nationally as well. Zoo data, in collaboration with other zoos and aquariums worldwide, was used in a paper published recently in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the official journal of the National Academy of Sciences. The information helped confirm critical information, such as fertility and survival rates, that has been missing from global data for more than 98 percent of known species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Information from the zoo has helped fill in the gap that has far-reaching implications for conservationists seeking to blunt the impact of mass extinctions, according to the journal article. The zoo has been contributing data on its animals since 1981. Since then, it has added data on more than 1,200 birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals of 219 species, making a large impact on the understanding of those species’ life histories.

About the Association of Zoos and Aquariums: The AZA, founded in 1924, is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the U.S. and 10 other countries.

Contact: Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 49, No. 127