The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park to close for 2016 beachnesting season

LEWES – The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park, including a stretch of ocean beach and dunes, and a half mile along the bay shoreline, will close beginning Tuesday, March 1, for the benefit of threatened and endangered beachnesters and migratory shorebirds, including red knot, piping plovers, oystercatchers, least terns and other species.

The nesting habitat on the ocean side will reopen on Sept. 1. The bayside beach will remain closed until Oct. 1 for use by shorebirds migrating south for the winter.

DNREC’s Divisions of Parks and Recreation, Fish & Wildlife and Watershed Stewardship have been working together since 1990 to implement a management plan to halt the decline of beachnester and migratory shorebird populations. The Point has been closed annually since 1993.

“We appreciate the public’s cooperation in this effort,” said Park Superintendent Paul Faircloth. “DNREC is committed to providing protection for these species, hopefully to prevent them from disappearing in Delaware.”

For more information, contact Cape Henlopen State Park at 302-645-8983.

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

Vol. 46, No. 58

Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier temporarily closed starting Jan. 25 for decking replacement

LEWES – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation’s Planning, Preservation and Development Section today announced the temporary closure of the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier for replacement of aging decking boards starting on Monday, Jan. 25.

Last year, the Division completed repairs to 125 pilings that had deteriorated and needed refitting and reinforcement. This upcoming project is the second phase of the most extensive repairs ever made to the popular pier, and will include decking and superstructure repairs costing $535,370.

The all-wooden pier was built during World War II by the U.S. Army as a mining wharf. Several rehabilitative efforts have been undertaken since 2007 to the pilings beneath the section of the pier that remains open for public use. The T-head portion of the pier was demolished in 2012 after its deteriorated condition was thought to pose a threat to safety and navigation. The Division of Parks & Recreation has been closely monitoring the condition of the pier since that time and has noticed an accelerated rate of deterioration in the structure.

The project to repair the pier is being funded through a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Sport Fishing Restoration grant along with park user fees and annual pass funds, and support from state legislators – Reps. Peter Schwartzkopf, Timothy Dukes and Stephen Smyk, and State Sen. Ernesto Lopez, Division Director Ray Bivens said.

The fishing pier decking repair is expected to take up to120 days to complete depending on weather conditions. For questions about the status of the project, please contact Cindy Todd with Delaware State Parks, at 302-739-9209.

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

Vol. 46, No. 21

Stretch of beach at Cape Henlopen State Park closed to safeguard nesting piping plovers

LEWES (May 21, 2013) – The first piping plover nest of the season at Gordons Pond Beach in Cape Henlopen State Park has been discovered, with the parents-to-be defending their territory, DNREC Wildlife Biologist Matthew Bailey announced on Monday afternoon. The nest was found late last week, and when last observed, contained three eggs.

To minimize disturbances to the tiny endangered shorebirds, a half-mile stretch of beach between the Observation Towers and the Herring Point crossover was closed to the public today with signs, twine and PVC stakes to mark the area.

“Closing off plover nesting areas is an established protocol every year at Cape Henlopen, and this closing is in the typical area that beachgoers are accustomed to,” said Bailey, who serves as coordinator of the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Piping Plover Protection Program. “The area will remain closed until the last of our plover chicks are fledged, usually in late August.”

Meanwhile, on the Point at Cape Henlopen, a total of five nesting pairs of piping plovers have been seen. One nest has failed, but four others have parents incubating eggs, including a female with bands on her legs.

“We don’t want to disturb the pair at the beginning of their nesting cycle, but we are confident that we will have good opportunity to further observe this female, get a full reading of the band combination and then report it to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which tracks endangered species,” Bailey said. The band information will tell who did the banding and hopefully provide access to some of her background, he added.

In other beachnesting bird news, three pairs of American oystercatchers have set up nesting territories on the Point, and a pair has been seen making nest scrapes at Gordons Pond. Large numbers of least terns also are congregating on the shores of Gordons Pond but have not yet started to defend nesting territory.

For more information on piping plovers and volunteer opportunities, please contact Matt Bailey, Division of Fish and Wildlife, at 302-382-4151 or email

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

Vol. 43, No. 211


Driving on the beach at Cape Henlopen State Park

LEWES (May 3, 2013) – Cape Henlopen State Park will host Driving on the Beach workshops on Saturdays, May 11 and June 15, and Sundays, May 19 and June 2. Join park rangers and surf fishing experts to learn the rules and regulations, and get tips on safe driving, how to avoid getting stuck, and how to get unstuck.

Each program meets at the Seaside Nature Center at 9:30 a.m. for an indoor presentation. Depending on the weather, the group may go for a drive on the beach, so please bring your safe driving equipment (a low-pressure tire gauge, tow rope or chain, board, jack, and shovel). The fee is $5 per person.

For more information or to pre-register, please call 302-645-6852. Park entrance fees are in effect. More information about public programs at Cape Henlopen or any Delaware State Park is available at

 Contact: Richard Julian, Cape Henlopen State Park, 302-645-6852 or Beth Shockley, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 43, No. 179