Delaware Coastal Cleanup – With Precautions – Set for Sept. 12 to Help Keep DE Litter Free

2019 Cleanup Drew Volunteers Up and Down the Coast Who Collected 3.6 Tons of Trash

Volunteers are encouraged to mark their 2020 calendars now for the DNREC-sponsored 33rd annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup, tentatively planned for 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Sept. 12, with signup for large volunteer groups beginning in July, and overall volunteer registration opening in August. The cleanup spans the First State’s 97-mile eastern coastline and includes river and ocean shorelines as well as wetland and watershed areas.

For the 2020 event, precautions will be taken to ensure the health and safety of cleanup participants, who are spread out across 40 to 50 locations throughout the state, working outside and generally in groups no bigger than 10 to 15. To ensure the health and safety of all participants, planning for this year’s event covers a wide range of contingencies, including possible cancellation, with decisions to be based on the most current coronavirus conditions.

Volunteer registration will be posted online at https://de.gov/coastalcleanup Aug. 1. Groups of 10 or more are strongly encouraged to pre-register by emailing DNREC_Coastal_Cleanup@delaware.gov.

DNREC organizes Delaware’s Coastal Cleanup as part of the Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup. The Delaware Coastal Cleanup promotes clean beaches, waterways, wetlands and watersheds in support of Keep DE Litter Free, Governor John Carney’s statewide anti-litter initiative.

Last year’s Delaware Coastal Cleanup, which was held Sept. 14, 2019, drew 1,931 volunteers, who collected 3.6 tons of trash and recyclables from 46 sites along more than 125 miles of Delaware’s waterways and coastline stretching from Wilmington to Fenwick Island.

Numbers increased for many common items. Food/beverage-related trash items nearly doubled to 42,462 pieces, including:

  • 4,268 food wrappers
  • 4,043 plastic beverage bottles
  • 2,444 beverage cans
  • 1,453 glass bottles
  • 2,851 paper, plastic and foam cups, plates and take-out containers

Common plastic items showed changes: 2,172 plastic bags, increased from 1,946; 2,397 straws and stirrers, decreased from 2,738; 1,434 plastic lids, up from 1,116; and 6,319 plastic bottle caps, down from 7,026.

Other notable items found:

  • 66 tires
  • 119 shotgun shells
  • 13,168 cigarette butts and cigar tips
  • 517 balloons
  • Dozens of sports balls, including golf, football, tennis, lacrosse, whiffle, and basketballs, as well as Frisbees.

Some of the more unusual items found were: a wedding dress, Nerf gun foam bullet, life jacket, sippy cup, mouth guard, bike pedal, flea collar, cooler handle, bushel basket, guitar pick, a “rubbery blob,” brake rotor, car bumper, garden rake, polyvinyl chloride pipe, half an anchor, mattress springs, large commercial fishnet, plastic pumpkin, plush unicorn, two boxes of fireworks, shopping cart wheel, Easter egg, baby shoes, ladder, luxury condos sign, vintage baby doll, lip gloss, duct tape, crab pot, an artificial Christmas tree, an Adopt-A-Highway sign, cellphone, pop-up tent, ear buds, broken canopies, tent spike, toilet seats, sledgehammer, nose clip, kitchen towel, lawn chair, boat propeller, dog bone, two baby strollers, four television sets at one site, a floating dock, a car engine and a tire attached to a partially buried car, and 348 all-the-same-brand beer cans in one location.

As part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, the types and quantities of trash collected in Delaware are recorded on data cards and forwarded by DNREC to the Center for Marine Conservation, which compiles the information to help identify debris sources and focus efforts on elimination or reduction. For more information, visit www.oceanconservancy.org.

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 DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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DNREC Releases Answers to Questions, Survey Results About Fenwick Island State Park Proposal

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has released the answers to publicly-asked questions about the possible location of an electrical interconnection facility at Fenwick Island State Park bringing power from a proposed offshore wind farm, as well as results of a public survey about possible improvements to the park. 

Last year, Ørsted requested that DNREC consider allowing electric cables from the company’s proposed Maryland offshore Skipjack Wind Farm to connect underground to a possible interconnection facility on Fenwick Island park property. DNREC took public comment on a number of possible improvements to the park that could be funded by Ørsted if the interconnection were allowed within the park, with the comment period extended to earlier this year. DNREC has not made a decision on the use of Fenwick Island State Park as a landing for the power produced from the proposed wind farm.

The answers released Wednesday clarified that DNREC is “considering the proposal to allow an interconnection facility to be installed at Fenwick Island State Park to direct power from the proposed Skipjack Wind Farm. The proposed wind farm itself is authorized by the state of Maryland, but an interconnection is proposed to be located in Delaware. The wind farm developer, Ørsted, would provide park improvements as part of the project. This proposal is separate from regulatory considerations of the wind farm, which is proposed to be developed regardless of Parks’ involvement.”

Other statements made in response to public questions about the possible interconnection within the park and the possible park improvements included:

  • “If the project is determined to move forward by the DNREC Secretary, the next step requires detailed planning and all associated permitting.”
  • “DNREC will not allow negative impacts to wetlands. Any unacceptable impacts to the environment will not be entertained.”
  • “A review of impacts to living resources (e.g. marine mammals, sea turtles, horseshoe crabs, birds, bats) would be conducted as part of the permitting process. Time of year restrictions are often placed on projects to protect living resources.”
  • “The proposed infrastructure improvements would remove a row of parking closest to the dune to allow the area to naturalize again and give the dune additional space to move. In addition, any new infrastructure would be designed to allow for dune movement.”
  • “Fenwick Island State Park has seen an increase in visitation as a result of increased visitors and development in the surrounding area. Regardless of any proposed amenities, the park is expected to only grow in popularity and stress existing infrastructure that is undersized for the demand. The proposed amenities will add capacity for the park and improve flow and experience for visitors.”

The public process about the possible interconnection and park improvements produced numerous questions about the offshore component of the Skipjack Wind Farm, including the distance of turbines to the shoreline, the location of wind energy areas in relation to fishing, the impacts of the wind farm on recreation, fisheries, and navigation. The DNREC answers noted that many of these questions are most appropriately addressed by Ørsted and the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

DNREC received 2,692 survey submissions that gave feedback on the proposed park improvements, which include methods for increasing public safety and relieving traffic congestion, upgraded infrastructure and the addition of new recreational amenities to meet the needs of increased visitation.

Of those who completed the survey, 44% said they would like DNREC to renovate the existing parking area and/or create additional parking facilities, 32% want the bathhouse and restroom facilities to be renovated and expanded, 13% would like additional food concessionaires and 12% felt the proposed improvements would improve traffic flow and parking at Fenwick Island State Park.  

Respondents also ranked proposed amenities from first to last, with walking paths to connect Fenwick Island, a nature center and additional food concessions the most popular.

To see the survey results and read the questions and answers, go to www.destateparks.com/FenwickImprovements.

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 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 DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov


New Limits Set for Beaches at Delaware State Parks Starting This Weekend

Two Park Lifeguards Test Positive for COVID-19

In accordance with Gov. Carney’s goal of limiting interactions among people in Delaware’s beach areas to reduce transmission of COVID-19, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced the following restrictions to be imposed starting on Friday, July 3 and lasting until further notice:

  • The number of vehicles allowed in Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island State Parks will be limited to approximately 60% of the parking capacity. When the 60% capacity is reached, all vehicles will be turned away until vehicle volume within the parks is reduced. Vehicle restrictions may be lifted periodically as volume levels are noticeably reduced within the parks. These limits, which will be enforced at park entrances by DNREC Natural Resources Police, will not be managed based on a “one-in, one-out” policy that would encourage lines of waiting vehicles and people.
  • At Cape Henlopen, when the main gate is closed to additional vehicles based on parking lot capacity, the closure will include vehicles that have arrived at the park for drive-on surf fishing as well.
  • At Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island surf fishing beaches, NRP officers will monitor the number of vehicles on the beach and will close drive-on beach entrances if vehicles fail to maintain the 20-foot distance between vehicles currently mandated by the Governor’s emergency order.
  • Masks or face coverings are required in bathhouse and concession areas at all three parks and strongly encouraged on the beach as well.
  • Campgrounds and cabin rentals will continue.

“Last weekend, we saw all our ocean parks go to capacity, we saw a number of people not wearing masks in bathhouse and concession areas where they were around others, and we saw groupings of people and activities on our beaches, including in surf fishing areas, that clearly violated the requirements of social distancing,” DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said. “This limit on visitors to our beach parks is another measure to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.”

DNREC also reported Tuesday that two of its Delaware State Parks beach lifeguards have tested positive for COVID-19 and are now isolating at home. DNREC is working closely with the Division of Public Health to notify any other employees or individuals who may have had close contact with the affected lifeguards. Our lifeguards perform a crucial role in protecting visitors at our beaches at Delaware State Parks. DNREC continues to follow recommended best practices to minimize health risks to park-goers and our Beach Patrol team, including a strict cleaning protocol for public spaces and sanitizing of staff workstations.

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 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 DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov

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Nominations Open for 2020 Young Environmentalist Awards

Caroline Nacchia was was honored in 2019

Nominate a Student Making a Difference for the Environment Today

Isabella Nacchia was honored in 2019
Isabella Nacchia was honored in 2019

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is looking for Delaware students who are working to make a difference for the environment, and encouraging teachers, classmates, club or group leaders, family members and others to nominate these students for the 2020 Young Environmentalist of the Year Awards. Nominations must be based on actions or projects which have taken place between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.

The Young Environmentalist program honors Delaware students whose actions have helped protect, restore or enhance of Delaware’s natural resources through one or more of the following: demonstrating environmental stewardship, initiating an innovative project, increasing public awareness or demonstrating environmental ethics.

Nominations will be accepted through Friday, July 10, 2020. A winner will be chosen from each of the following categories: elementary (grades 1-4), middle school (grades 5-8), and high school (grades 9-12). Each category winner will receive a certificate, gift card and prize pack in recognition of his or her contribution to the community.

This is the 27th year for DNREC’s Young Environmentalist awards program. Past honorees have included students who planned community cleanups and tree plantings, founded or led school environmental clubs or projects and volunteered at parks and nature centers, as well as beekeepers, nature photographers, recycling advocates and young lobbyists.

In past years, winners have been honored in a special ceremony on Governor’s Day at the Delaware State Fair, which is tentatively planned for Thursday, July 30 this year. All plans are subject to change based on health and safety considerations and any changes will be announced.

Nominations may be submitted online at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/young-environmentalists/, or emailed to joanna.wilson@delaware.gov.

For more information, including nomination forms, please visit https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/young-environmentalists/, or call DNREC Public Affairs at 302-739-9902.

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 DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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Delaware Building Energy Codes Receive Update

An update to the state’s building energy codes that took effect this month will help reduce long-term costs to consumers while also decreasing greenhouse gas emissions in Delaware.

Energy codes establish minimum design and construction requirements for energy efficiency in buildings, including insulation, air leakage limits, lighting and heating and cooling systems. The standards increase building sector energy efficiency, deliver energy cost savings to building owners and occupants, increase occupant comfort and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Delaware.

The update introduces energy efficiency improvements, including increased residential air sealing requirements, hot water pipe insulation and energy efficient windows and lighting options, as well as more efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system operation resulting from improved duct design and sealing, energy efficient windows and lighting options.

“The adoption of these updated standards is an important step in helping Delawareans reduce their energy costs,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “It will also help us toward meeting our goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Governor John Carney has committed to reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. Electric power generation is among the top three sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Delaware.

Construction costs related to the updated codes will be offset by the energy savings accrued to building occupants and owners, according to analyses from the U.S. Department of Energy, including two Delaware-specific assessments completed by the Pacific Northwest National Lab.

The state first established a minimum statewide code for energy conservation in 1979. The code, which is based on standards set by the International Code Council and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, was last updated in 2009. Legislation requires DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy to review and update the state’s regulations every three years. The latest code update went through a full regulatory process, including a public hearing in December and acceptance and consideration of public comment on the changes.

The update includes a six-month transition period, during which the Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy will provide targeted training and technical assistance to the construction industry and code enforcement officials. Topics that will be covered by the training will include:

  • An overview of the changes
  • Practical compliance strategies, particularly for the building envelope requirements in the new energy codes
  • Construction and design strategies for air sealing smaller homes
  • Other topics, including hot water pipe insulation and HVAC duct design

The training also will provide an opportunity for DNREC to gather additional feedback and input from participants to determine the need for follow-up training topics.
Visit DNREC’s Building Energy Codes webpage for more information.

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 DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; or Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov.

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