DNREC to Reopen The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park Sept. 1

Bayside Beach to Remain Closed for Shorebird Migration Through Oct. 1

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will reopen The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park, including a stretch of ocean beach and dunes, and a half-mile along the bay shoreline on Thursday, Sept. 1. The bayside beach will remain closed until Oct. 1 for use by shorebirds migrating south for the winter.

The area to reopen includes a stretch of ocean beach and dunes that was previously closed on March 1. Since 1993, The Point has closed annually each March for the benefit of threatened and endangered beach-nesters and migratory shorebirds, including red knot, piping plovers, oystercatchers, least terns and other species.

The DNREC Divisions of Parks and Recreation, Fish and Wildlife, and Watershed Stewardship have worked together since 1990 to implement a management plan to halt the decline of beach-nester and migratory shorebird populations.

For more information, contact Cape Henlopen State Park at 302-645-8983, or stop by the park office.

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 DNREC 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 @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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DNREC Reminds Public Do Not Sled or Snowboard on Dunes

 Those caught trespassing in dune areas restricted to the public could face fines upward of $100 from the DNREC Natural Resource Police.

 

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control reminds residents and visitors that sledding, snowboarding and other recreational activities are not allowed on Delaware’s sand dunes.

Dunes contain fragile wildlife habitat and provide protection for the beaches and the communities they border.

In addition to asking the public to help protect the dunes, the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation also advises that, except for at marked crossings, pedestrian traffic and recreation activities are prohibited on dunes in Cape Henlopen and Delaware Seashore state parks.

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 DNREC 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 @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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Piping Plovers Experience Poor Nest Productivity Year in Delaware

A banded piping plover male photographed in mid-July at Cape Henlopen State Park on Delaware’s Atlantic coast/DNREC photo.

 

DNREC Provides Updates on Other Beach-Nesting Bird Species

Beach-nesting piping plovers experienced poor nest productivity on their breeding grounds in Delaware during 2021, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today in summarizing the rare shorebird species’ nesting success within the state.

Six pairs of piping plovers were recorded nesting at The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park with 18 more nesting pairs at Fowler Beach on Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, making for a modern-day record total of 24 breeding pairs. Despite the record number of breeding pairs, piping plovers were less successful in producing only 19 fledglings, young birds that hatched and can fly in leaving their nest. Poor fledgling productivity is suspected to be the result of nest loss from a Memorial Day storm and higher-than-average predation at Fowler Beach.

Record piping plover productivity was documented in Delaware over the previous three years for the federally-listed threatened species and Delaware state-listed endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established a goal of 1.5 fledglings per breeding pair in 1996 as part of the piping plover recovery plan, with Delaware’s nesting productivity exceeding that goal from 2018 to 2020. This year, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife recorded 19 fledglings, for a productivity rate of 0.8 fledglings per breeding pair. In 2020, 21 breeding pairs were documented, producing 47 fledglings for a productivity rate of 2.2 fledglings/pair.

Delaware’s piping plover recovery effort involves partnerships between DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and Division of Parks and Recreation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.

In other beach-nesting bird species nesting season updates, two pairs of American oystercatchers nested at The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park while one pair nested at Delaware Seashore State Park. Although the nest successfully hatched at Delaware Seashore State Park, the chicks did not fledge. A pair of American oystercatchers were observed using the marsh islands of Delaware Seashore State Park and were seen with two chicks that appear to have successfully fledged. Least tern counts were lower than recent years, with only four breeding pairs and four nests found at Cape Henlopen State Park, where only two chicks hatched, and neither of them fledged.

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 DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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DNREC Reminds Public That The Point at Cape Henlopen is Closed for 2021 Beach Nesting Season

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control reminds the public that The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park, including a stretch of ocean and bay beach, is now closed. Since 1993, The Point has closed annually each March for the benefit of threatened and endangered beachnesters and migratory shorebirds, including red knot, piping plovers, oystercatchers, least terns and other species.

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

The DNREC Divisions of Parks and Recreation, Fish and Wildlife, and Watershed Stewardship have worked together since 1990 to implement a management plan to halt the decline of beachnester and migratory shorebird populations.

For more information, contact Cape Henlopen State Park at 302-645-8983 or stop by the park office.

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 DNREC 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 @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov or Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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Some Southern Delaware, Maryland Beaches Cleared of Oily Debris, Tar Balls

Remaining Cleanup Operation Focuses on Delaware Bay and Delaware North Atlantic Ocean Beaches

Cleanup crews for the unified command have cleared oily debris and tar balls from a significant stretch of coastline from the southern side of the Indian River Inlet in Delaware to the Assateague Island State Park in Maryland. Beaches cleared include Bethany, South Bethany, Fenwick Island, Ocean City, the Assateague Island State Park, and part of Cape Henlopen State Park along the Atlantic Ocean.

The unified command under the U.S. Coast Guard, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Maryland Department of the Environment has stood down its on-site incident command post at the Slaughter Beach Memorial Volunteer Fire Company on Wednesday, after about two weeks of operations, and shifted to a remotely coordinated response.

The cleanup operations will go on, and also shift resources to more affected areas, as crews continue their process of validating beaches to be clear of oiled material and tar balls.

With Maryland beaches no longer affected, the MDE will step back from the unified command. The Coast Guard, MDE, and DNREC will continue to monitor cleared beaches and continue daily evaluations of areas previously impacted but cleared. Clean up crews may be dispatched to conduct remedial spot checks of areas as necessary.

“Our team came together to address an urgent threat to the environment, and though that threat isn’t over, we believe we have structures, procedures and relationships established to shift our cooperative efforts to manage clean up remotely,” said Lt. Cmdr. Frederick Pugh, U.S. Coast Guard Incident Commander. “We will continue to watch areas that have been impacted and will shift resources as necessary.”

After an oil spill, winds and waves tear the oil into smaller pieces that can be scattered many miles along the coastline. It mixes with water and is changed, known as “weathering,” and also mixes with sand and other marine debris. About 75 tons of oily debris has been removed by cleanup crews during this response.

“We got tons of oily debris and weathered oil off our beaches, but we’re not done yet,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Our experts continue to survey our coastline, assessing the cleanup operation, and as we move ahead, conducting final evaluations of our beaches to make sure the job is done.”

The cause of the oil spill remains under active investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard. If a source is identified, the responsible party would be required to reimburse the federal government for the cleanup operation.

As cleanup ends on individual beaches over the next several days, the public may still see small spots of oil or isolated bits of debris. The beach in Lewes remains temporarily closed, and beachgoers to other affected areas are strongly advised to stay out of the water and avoid walking along the wrack or high tide line.

The public is asked to continue reporting sizeable sightings of oiled debris, tar balls or oiled wildlife.

For reports concerning the Delaware coastline, call DNREC’s toll-free environmental hotline at 800-662-8802. For reports concerning the Maryland coastline, call the Maryland Department of the Environment at 866-633-4686.

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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