Delaware Farmers Encouraged To Participate In Environmental Deeds Questionnaire

DOVER, Del. (November 23, 2020) – Along with the Delaware Nutrient Management Program’s annual report mailing, Delaware farmers are being encouraged to complete an additional 16-question implementation questionnaire. The questionnaire aims to measure nutrient applications and environmental deeds, allowing Delaware to recognize farmers’ stewardship efforts in 2020.

“Delaware is committed to protecting and improving the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and is working to meet the Chesapeake Bay Program’s restoration goals. We know that Delaware farmers have been implementing best management practices for over 30 years, and it’s working,” said Chris Brosch, Nutrient Management Program Administrator. “In interviewing farmers, we realized that we were missing a lot of the stewardship practices that they use on their farm each year because there is not a place to enter it on the annual report. This new questionnaire will allow us to record this information so the deeds can be counted towards Delaware Agriculture’s Chesapeake Bay nutrient reduction goals.”

The Program has developed a short, online video tutorial to educate participants about the questionnaire, what it means for their operation and Delaware, and how to accurately fill out the questionnaire (http://ow.ly/ZESN50Csx19). Staff is also available to answer questions if a farmer needs assistance while completing the questions.

Annual reports and environmental deeds questionnaires should be submitted in the same envelope provided and mailed to the Delaware Department of Agriculture. Information from these reports will be held to the same privacy standards as a farmer’s annual reports.

The Program is offering farmers up to 2.0 credits of continuing education towards the Nutrient Management Certification, including a half-credit for watching the instructional video and 1.5 credits for returning the completed annual report and questionnaire.

Delaware farmers are required to follow nutrient management plans when fertilizing crops and managing animal manure. These plans define how much manure, fertilizer, or other nutrient sources can be safely applied to crops to achieve yields and prevent nutrient run-off. All the additional environmental deeds that a farmer utilizes to protect the Chesapeake Bay can be counted towards Delaware’s nutrient reduction goals if it is recorded on the questionnaire.

The Chesapeake Bay TMDL document called for an assessment in 2017 to review progress toward meeting the nutrient and sediment pollutant load reductions necessary for Bay restoration. This midpoint assessment measured the Bay jurisdictions’ progress toward meeting the 2017 goal of having practices in place to achieve 60 percent of the necessary reductions compared to 2009 levels. The Phase III WIP will provide information on what actions the jurisdictions intend to implement between 2018 and 2025 to continue to meet the Bay TMDL restoration goals. See the Phase III Planning Expectations and Planning page for EPA’s mid-point assessment schedule to meet the new requirements.

For additional information, contact the Delaware Nutrient Management Program at (302) 698-4558.

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DNREC now accepting grant proposals for Delaware Chesapeake Bay watershed implementation projects

DOVER (Sept. 17, 2019) – DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship is now accepting project proposals from state agencies, county and municipal governments, conservation districts, community organizations, homeowner organizations and not-for-profit organizations representing local government for water quality improvement projects within Delaware’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Proposals for the Chesapeake Bay Implementation Funding Grant must be received by DNREC no later than 3:30 p.m. Oct. 30, 2019.

The Implementation Funding Grant within Delaware’s Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is intended for use by Delaware entities within the Chesapeake Bay watershed for best management practice implementation projects that will improve water quality by reducing nutrient and sediment loads. The competitive grant process is administered by Delaware’s Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grant Program, which provides technical and financial guidance during the grant application and project period.

Grant requests of up to $200,000 (from $350,000 in total funding for fiscal year 2020) will be considered, with a one-to-one non-federal match requirement. Up to 10 percent of the grant funds may be used for administrative costs.

The grant guidelines and application instructions can be found online at Chesapeake Bay Implementation Funding Grant webpage. Proposals must be submitted by email to James.Sullivan@delaware.gov and must be no larger than 10 megabytes (MB) in size.

For more information, please contact Jim Sullivan, Division of Watershed Stewardship, at 302-739-9922.

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

Vol. 49, No. 236


Delaware Forest Service awards $92,000 in grants for community tree projects

Contact: Kesha Braunskill, Urban and Community Forestry Program Director, (302) 698-4578
kesha.braunskill@delaware.gov 

DOVER, Del. — The Delaware Urban and Community Forestry Program has awarded more than $92,000 for 24 tree projects throughout the First State. In the past 15 years, the annual grant program has provided more than $1.5 million to help communities increase tree canopy and promote the natural benefits of trees: cleaner air and water, increased property values and civic pride, and reduced storm water runoff and flooding. The grants, selected by a committee of Delaware’s Community Forestry Council, require a 50-50 cost-share match in cash or in-kind services, such as volunteer time, equipment, or supplies.

The program is open to any city, town, community group, homeowner association, or certified nonprofit organization in the State of Delaware. Awards ranged from $500 to a maximum of $5,000 in one of two project categories: tree planting or tree management (tree inventory only). Projects must be completed on public lands in the community. Priority was given to first-time applicants, Tree Friendly Communities, and municipalities with an urban tree canopy resolution.

 

PHOTO: Breakwater in Lewes got a $5,000 Delaware Urban and Community Forestry grant to plant 56 trees and 46 shrubs in eight locations, including a buffer near Breakwater Junction Trail. The Delaware Forest Service assisted with the project.


PHOTO: This tree planting at Breakwater in Lewes was funded by $5,000 from Delaware’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.

Urban and Community Grants

Community Name County Award
City of Newark New Castle $895.00
Alapocas New Castle $1,800.00
Westover Hills Section A New Castle $2,150.00
Village of Ardentown New Castle $2,252.00
The Village of Fountainview New Castle $3,000.00
Village of Arden New Castle $3,372.30
Piedmont Baseball and Softball League New Castle $5,000.00
Westover Hills Section C New Castle $5,000.00
Wynthorpe Maintenance Corp. New Castle $5,000.00
Town of Smyrna Kent $4,000.00
Spring Meadows Kent $5,000.00
City of Lewes Sussex $1,225.91
Bayside Fenwick Island Sussex $1,638.00
Shoreview Woods Sussex $3,442.40
James Farm – Inland Bays Sussex $4,342.50
Town of Dagsboro Sussex $4,400.00
Meadows of Village at Old Landing Sussex $4,681.00
Breakwater – Lewes Sussex $5,000.00
Grande at Canal Pointe Sussex $5,000.00
Holland Mills Sussex $5,000.00
Long Neck Shores Sussex $5,000.00
Total $77,199.11

Chesapeake Bay Grants

Three of the grants, totaling about $5,000 each, were awarded to the City of Seaford’s Dept. of Parks & Recreation, the Seaford Historical Society’s Ross Plantation, and Trap Pond Partners in Laurel. Seaford and Laurel are located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the largest estuary in the United States and a high-priority for projects to improve water quality.

Community Name County Award
Ross Plantation – Seaford Historical Society Sussex $4,999.43
City of Seaford – Dept. of Parks and  Rec. Sussex $5,000.00
Trap Pond Partners Sussex $5,000.00
Total $14,999.43


PHOTO: Delaware Forest Service staff helped auger the holes for a tree planting at Breakwater near Lewes.


DNREC seeks public comment and input sought for Delaware’s Phase III Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan

DOVER – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is seeking public comment and input for the Delaware Draft Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), the long-range plan for reducing pollutants that enter the state’s waterways and drain into the Chesapeake Bay. Delaware is among six Chesapeake Bay Watershed jurisdictions – along with Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, and the District of Columbia – that have committed to a federal-state initiative to develop and implement an overall plan that will help restore the water quality of the Bay and its tidal waters by 2025.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is leading the effort to reduce pollution and has developed a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) that sets limits for major sources of nutrients and sediment entering the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal branches. A TMDL is the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive and still meet water quality standards that protect humans and aquatic life. As part of the TMDL, each jurisdiction is required to develop a WIP that details specific steps to be taken to reduce nutrient and sediment and actions to maintain water quality standards in the future.

Currently, Delaware’s rivers and streams that flow into the Chesapeake Bay are burdened with pollution that depletes the health of these waterways and the Bay, and affects their productivity. Restoring water quality to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed will have far-reaching benefits for Delaware’s economic and environmental health.

Delaware remains committed to making improvements necessary for restoring our Chesapeake Bay tributaries. We continue to search for innovative ways to manage our stormwater and to improve the quality of our waterways,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Protecting Delaware’s aquatic resources boosts our economy, provides recreational opportunities and improves overall quality of life for our citizens.”

There have been three phases of Delaware’s Chesapeake Bay WIP. Phase I and Phase II WIPs were developed and submitted to EPA in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Both the Phase I and Phase II WIPs describe actions and controls to be implemented by 2017 and 2025 to achieve applicable water quality standards. The Phase II WIP builds on the initial Phase I WIP by providing more specific local actions. Delaware met EPA requirements for both those WIP phases. The Phase III WIP has been developed based on a midpoint assessment of progress and scientific analyses. The Phase III WIP provides information on actions Delaware intends to implement between 2019 and 2025 to meet the Bay restoration goals. All three plans consider aspects of watershed management including ecological restoration, sustainability, conservation practices, stewardship, and training and outreach.

To develop Delaware‘s Draft Phase III WIP for the watershed’s future, a Phase II review and revision was led by an interagency workgroup made up of representatives from numerous stakeholder groups, including Delaware’s Department of Agriculture (DDA), Department of Transportation (DelDOT), the state’s Soil and Water Conservation districts, the University of Delaware and the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance. The draft plan identifies partners, program locations, actions, and the resources needed to reach milestones and meet implementation goals for 2025. The wide-ranging collaboration and cooperation that went into the plan continues with DNREC seeking additional public participation and input on the Draft Phase III WIP.

Public comments will be accepted from April 12 through DNREC close of business (4:30 p.m.), Friday, June 7, by time-stamped email to DNREC_DelawareCBWIP@delaware.gov, or by US Postal Service mail postmarked no later than June 7 to: Attn. Chesapeake WIP, DNREC Nonpoint Source Program, 100 Water Street, Suite 6B, Dover, DE 19904.

More information about the Phase III WIP can be found on the DNREC website. Download a draft of Delaware’s Draft Chesapeake Bay Phase III WIP. Provide comments and input, using an online form.


Blackbird State Forest tree planting on April 13 & 14

TOWNSEND, Del. – Volunteers are needed to plant 2,000 hardwood seedlings at Blackbird State Forest on Saturday and Sunday, April 13 and 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Two seniors from Middletown High School, Bryan Alberding and Nick Kupsick, are leading the project in cooperation with the Delaware Forest Service with funding provided by the DNREC Nonpoint Source Program (NPS). The project will take place on Blackbird State Forest’s Naudain Tract2076 Harvey Straughn Road, Townsend, Delaware 19734.

The rain date is scheduled for April 27 and 28, 2019.

The planting site is located along the Cypress Branch, where the new trees will help enhance wildlife habitat, fight invasive species, and improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. The project continues a tradition of youth volunteerism and environmental action at Blackbird State Forest: in 2018, volunteers led by Girl Scout Caroline Dowd, a student at MOT Charter High School in Middletown, planted more than 8,800 seedlings on an adjacent parcel.  In both 2012 and 2013, Boy Scouts planted 4,000 trees each year at Blackbird State Forest.

“Our project took a lot of time and planning, but it is important that everything was done correctly to maximize our success,” said Middletown High School senior Bryan Alberding. “I chose to do this project because I was concerned about the enormous housing growth in our community, and I wanted to improve the environment.”

“This project presents others with the opportunity to explore and learn how our forests start from the seedling to a mature tree, and how to properly plant the trees,” said Nick Kupsick,who is coordinating the effort with Alberding as part of their Middletown H.S. senior project.

Contact information for media:

Volunteers are asked to dress for the weather and bring sunscreen or insect repellent if needed.

What to wear and bring:

  1. work shoes or work boots that can get dirty
  2. appropriate clothing and hats that can get dirty and are suited to the weather (cold, rain, wind, or heat)
  3. a shovel if possible, as well as work gloves

The latest updates for the event will be posted on the students’ Facebook Page: Blackbird Tree Planting

Funding for the trees is provided by a grant from the DNREC Nonpoint Source Program. The restoration of riparian forests is a key strategy for improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, recognized as a “national treasure” and the largest estuary in North America, covering 64,000 square miles in six states and the District of Columbia. The Cypress Branch in southwestern New Castle County is one of the headwaters for the Chester River, a major tributary of the Chesapeake Bay that begins where Cypress Branch and Andover Branch join together in Millington, MD.

Blackbird State Forest covers nearly 6,000 acres in southern New Castle County and is also a stop on the historic Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.

Directions to the Blackbird Forest Tree Planting Site

  • From the NORTH:
    Route 1 (TOLL): Take Rt. 1 South to Exit 136 toward Odessa (Rt. 299) and make a left at the light. At Rt. 299 (Main Street) in Odessa, turn right onto U.S. 13 South.
    U.S. 13: Take U.S 13 South until you reach Rt. 299 (Main Street) in Odessa. Proceed through the light (continue on U.S. 13 South).
  • From Route 299 & U.S. 13: Continue on U.S. 13 south for 6.2 miles and then turn right onto Blackbird Forest Road (flashing light at the top of the hill). After 3.5 miles, turn right onto Oak Hill School Road. Continue for 2.9 miles and then turn right onto Harvey Straughn Road. Proceed for .3 miles and the destination will be on the right.
  • From the SOUTH:
    Route 1 (TOLL): Take Rt. 1 North to Exit 119 (N. Smyrna). Make a right onto Route 13 South. Proceed .8 miles to Duck Creek Road and make a right at the light.
    U.S. 13: Take U.S 13 North until you reach Duck Creek Road north of Smyrna (just past Visitor Center and Smokey Bear sign on the right). Turn left at light for Duck Creek Road.
  • From Duck Creek Road & U.S. 13:  Proceed west for .8 miles on Duck Creek Road and turn right onto Vandyke Greenspring Road. Continue on Vandyke Greenspring Road for 4.4 miles and turn left onto Harvey Straughn Road. In 2 miles, turn left to stay on Harvey Straughn Road. Proceed for .3 miles and the destination will be on the left.

Additional contact –
John Petersen, Delaware Forest Service, 302-698-4552, john.petersen@delaware.gov

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