DNREC begins treatment of downstate public ponds for the aquatic weed hydrilla

With inland water temperatures rising and aquatic plants emerging, DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is treating downstate public ponds for the nuisance aquatic weed hydrilla. Uncontrolled hydrilla can choke the water, crowding out beneficial plant species and preventing fishing and boating access. Ponds being treated this year are Griffiths Pond near Milford, Concord Pond near Seaford, and Wagamons Pond in Milton. Signs are posted at the boat ramp of each pond on the day of treatment.

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

The only special restriction is to not use water from the treated ponds for irrigation for 30 days from the date of treatment. Residents and farmers along and directly downstream of treated ponds should not use the water to irrigate their gardens, yards, or agricultural lands during that period to avoid possible damage to their plantings, and landowners with permits to use water from these ponds will be directly notified before treatment.

To prevent the spread of hydrilla and other invasive aquatic vegetation, 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 additional information, contact the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife 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. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

 

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Beach Restrictions To Be Lifted, Visitor Numbers Limited In State Parks For Memorial Day Weekend

Delawareans will resume activities such as swimming and sunbathing on Delaware State Park beaches for Memorial Day weekend, with existing restrictions on beaches being lifted by the Governor effective Friday, May 22 at 5 p.m. Out-of-state visitors who have maintained a 14-day quarantine since entering the state are also allowed to resume activity on Delaware beaches.

Since March, beach activities had been limited to exercising, dog-walking and restricted surf fishing as part of precautions against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Adequate social distancing on the beaches remain a concern and will be closely monitored as the restrictions are modified. 

To carry out Gov. Carney’s phased reopening of Delaware beaches, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced the following for state parks:

Current restrictions on beach activity will be lifted starting 5 p.m. on Friday, May 22. Sunbathing, swimming, picnicking, surfing, kayaking, walk-on surf fishing and other activities will be allowed to resume for Delawareans and for those from out-of-state who have quarantined 14 days.

At least 6-foot distance will be required on beaches among those from different households, and groups of visitors from the same household may be no larger than 10. Masks or face coverings are encouraged to be worn on beaches.

Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island state parks will have capacity limits – between 50 and 70% of parking spaces – that will be enforced at entrances and with closure of parking spaces.

Visitors must bring face coverings, such as masks or bandanas, with them when entering state parks. Within state parks, face coverings must be worn in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as in bathhouses, park offices, concession buildings, boat docks, and trails and paths where others are present.

Beach-area bathrooms and bathhouses will open May 22. Most bathrooms in other state parks around the state will also open, but some will remain closed due to distancing/cleaning considerations.

Cleaning services will be increased to multiple times per day at all open bathrooms and bathhouses.

For surf fishing, the emergency limit on number of persons per vehicle will be lifted and now only one person will need to be actively fishing. But 20-foot distancing between vehicles will be required and drive-on beaches may be closed by officers to additional vehicles when the carrying capacity to implement social distancing is not possible.

State Park offices will open Thursday, May 21, and will require credit cards for purchases. Face masks must be worn when entering park offices.

Visitors are encouraged to purchase Annual Passes to avoid anticipated delays for daily entrance payments. 

Annual Pass and Surf-Fishing Permit sales resume availability at all park offices starting Thursday, and are available online at destateparks.com.

Daily park entrance fees will only be collected via the automated credit card machines or self-registration envelopes provided at park entrances for those without annual passes or permits.

Camping and pavilion reservations at all state parks have been canceled through May 31. Full refunds will be issued, and no further action is required by the customer. Should the Governor’s state of emergency closure of camping be extended beyond June 1, further cancellations will occur at that time.

State park daily entrance fees for vehicles registered in Delaware are $4 at inland parks and $5 at ocean parks. Fees for out-of-state vehicles are $8 at inland parks and $10 at ocean parks. Annual park entrance passes are $35 for Delawareans and $70 for out-of-state, with discounted rates for military and for those on state or federal assistance, including those on unemployment. For information on pass and permit fees, go to destateparks.com/Know/passestagsfees.

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: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov or Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov.


New website provides Seaford-area residents information on proposed flood risk mapping revisions

Seaford-area residents are asked to review and comment on proposed floodplain mapping changes in the Clear Brook watershed by visiting a new website managed by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. The proposed floodplain map changes for Clear Brook are being made because a recent evaluation found the Hearns Pond area floodplain is receding and areas downstream are slightly expanding.

The new wesbsite includes a helpful video that provides important information for residents about how the proposed changes may affect their properties and flood insurance rates. Visitors to the website can also record their comments on the proposed revisions. Any comments must be received by May 31.

“DNREC and its consultant performed updated watershed modeling, which included recent improvements to the Hearns Pond Dam to produce more detailed and accurate flood risk assessments and maps for the Clear Brook watershed,” said Michael Powell, administrator for the DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship. “This improved study and map will ultimately be adopted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to produce updated federal floodplain maps for the watershed.”

DNREC partners with FEMA to improve the accuracy of flood risk maps statewide. Delaware’s current flood risk maps are used by FEMA to set flood insurance rates and enforce local floodplain codes. FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program makes flood insurance available to property owners. Mortgage lenders require borrowers whose properties are located in a designated flood hazard area to buy flood insurance as a condition of receiving a federally-backed mortgage loan.

Standard homeowners insurance does not cover damage caused by flooding, but all property owners and renters can buy flood insurance. Homeowners interested in how the proposed changes could impact the cost of their flood insurance premium should contact their insurance agent.

For information on flood risk maps, contact Gina Tonn or Michael Powell, with the DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship, at 302-739-9921. The Division has also posted more information about the flood mitigation program on the Department’s website.

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 Contact: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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DNREC opens virtual operations for water-related services

Permit applications and licenses expedited by online transactions

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control continues pivoting to virtual operations both during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future for greater efficiencies and ease of use for DNREC customers and constituents. The latest advance for DNREC’s ePermitting comes from the Division of Water and covers a spectrum of permit applications and license payments.

The new process is part of the continuing effort to keep DNREC staff and customers safe during the pandemic while providing consistent business practices, and in this case also enhancing the Department’s water-related transactions. Until now almost all permit applications and license forms from the Division of Water required hardcopy submissions, with payment by check or cash.

Online submission and payment can now be made via the ePermitting system for the following services:

Professional License Renewals:

  • Well driller
  • Liquid waste hauler
  • Wastewater operator

Water Supply

  • Water allocation permits
  • Well permits (use existing application)

Wastewater

  • Septic permits
  • Site evaluation
  • Septic inspections
  • Septic system repair/Component replacement
  • Authorization to use existing system
  • Holding tanks (New/replacement/repair for private systems)
  • Septic site waiver request

Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands

  • Letters of authorization and Statewide Activity Approvals (SAA)
  • New permits or leases
  • Supplemental approval for lease/permit
  • Jurisdictional determination requests
  • Water quality certification
  • Wetlands permits

“The COVID-19 pandemic expedited our efforts and to roll out ePermitting developments such as well drilling licenses and other water permitting and licensing, which state staff from DNREC and the Department of Technology and Information implemented in a matter of weeks,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Contractors and constituents doing business with our Division of Water have asked for this option since online transactions became a part of State of Delaware business, and we are happy to provide it, especially at this time.”

Many DNREC services are available online, including hunting and fishing permits, sales of park passes and wildlife are conservation access passes (though state park and wildlife area fees and passes are currently waived until further notice), hunter education classes and plenty of virtual content. Public hearings and public meetings are also occurring virtually as well.

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 contact: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov or Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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Fees, passes required at state parks, wildlife areas starting Friday, May 8

Reduced cost state park pass available for those on state assistance, including unemployment

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today that it will reinstate entry fees and park pass requirements at all Delaware State Parks and require a Conservation Access Pass to enter state wildlife areas starting Friday, May 8.

DNREC also announced that those receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits can receive an annual park pass for $10, and those passes can be purchased online for those on unemployment as well as other state or federal assistance. The Assistance Pass Program was already available to those on General Assistance, Medicaid, Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant and Children (WIC) or Purchase of Care, but was only available with an in-person application.

On March 16, DNREC suspended entry fees, park passes and access passes until April 30 to allow Delawareans to be active outdoors and to provide space for activity, and the free period was then continued.

For the safety of the public and for employees, a number of limitations and requirements will remain in place in parks, wildlife areas, fishing areas and boat ramps, including:

  • Entrance booths at parks will not be staffed, so visitors without a park annual pass will pay the daily fee via automated credit card machines or the self-registration envelopes at park entrances.
  • Bathrooms will remain closed or unavailable at parks, wildlife areas, fishing areas and boat ramps.
  • Beaches remain closed except for exercising, dog-walking and surf fishing under very limited conditions, per the Governor’s state of emergency orders.
  • Playgrounds, campgrounds and park offices continue to be closed and tours and other activities in parks will not yet resume.
  • Visitors to parks, wildlife areas, fishing areas and boat ramps must have masks with them, and must wear them when social distancing from others cannot be maintained.
  • The Governor’s requirement that out-of-state visitors must quarantine for 14 days upon entering Delaware before visiting parks, wildlife areas or other public spaces remains in effect.

“As the state’s businesses take small steps toward reopening on Friday, we will start our delayed fee season for parks as well, since 65 percent of the funding that runs our state parks system comes from visitor fees. And we are extending our discounted Assistance Program annual pass to those on unemployment for the first time ever,” DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said. “Like businesses, we still need some limits out of concern for health and safety, so we will not yet back to full operations but hope to take more steps soon.”

Delaware State Parks

State park entrance fees for vehicles registered in Delaware are $4 at inland parks and $5 at ocean parks. Fees for out-of-state vehicles are $8 at inland parks and $10 at ocean parks. Entrance fees will remain in effect through Nov. 30, which is the normal fee season end date.

Annual passes and surf fishing permits may currently only be purchased online, as all state park offices remain closed to the public, with annual passes for Delaware vehicles at $35 and for out-of-state vehicles at $70, with discounts for seniors, military and others. Those who purchase an annual pass before June 1 may place their receipt of purchase in the window of their vehicle to use state parks while waiting for the pass to arrive via mail. For information on pass and permit fees, go to www.destateparks.com/Know/PassesTagsFees, which includes a link to apply for the reduced cost Annual Pass Assistance Program for those on state and federal assistance, including unemployment.

Delaware Fish and Wildlife areas

A Delaware Conservation Access Pass is required for any registered motor vehicle that’s used to access most of state wildlife areas. Conservation Access Passes are available as annual passes, which may be used from July 1 through June 30, or as three-day passes, which may be used for three consecutive days. The conservation pass provides needed funding to help the Division of Fish and Wildlife maintain and improve public access, facilities, and wildlife habitat on state wildlife areas. Conservation Access Passes may be purchased and more information is available online at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/fish-wildlife/conservation-access-pass/.

For the latest information on COVID-19 in Delaware, visit de.gov/coronavirus.

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