Public Input Sought on Water Trust Priorities and Projects

Strategic Plan Comments Sought in Jan. 25, Feb. 2 and Feb. 10 Virtual Meetings

The Delaware Clean Water Trust Oversight Committee will host three virtual public information sessions to hear from Delaware residents and businesses about how the trust should support water quality improvements with historic dedicated funding through the Delaware Clean Water Act, signed into law last fall by Governor John Carney.

The Clean Water Trust input and information sessions are set for 9 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 25; 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 2; and 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 10. More information about the Clean Water Trust sessions can be found on the DNREC online calendar, de.gov/dnrecmeetings.

The Delaware Clean Water Trust oversees $50 million in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget as a funding source for water quality and water-related projects. The trust’s strategic plan will be the major topic of discussion at the virtual public meetings, as DNREC and the trust oversight committee seek input on the strategic plan through public comment. The committee was created by the Clean Water for Delaware Act to advise the Governor and the General Assembly, provide oversight of the Clean Water Trust account, and publish an annual report and strategic plan for clean water.

A draft of a strategic plan framework is available at de.gov/cwi and will be presented at the meetings, but only as a starting point for public discussion. Public input and ideas are needed and encouraged to form the basis of the plan for Trust spending.

Clean Water Trust funding will touch almost every aspect of water quality improvement and water-related projects in the state, including: infrastructure for drinking water, stormwater and wastewater; drainage programs; waterway management and beach preservation, and many other projects funded by state and federal resources such as the conservation reserve enhancement program, conservation cost-sharing and tax ditches.

The Clean Water Trust also works with Governor Carney’s Clean Water Initiative for Underserved Communities that is a major component of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s environmental justice work with the state’s low-income, disadvantaged and underserved communities.

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 Environmental Finance team administers Delaware’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, making funding available to municipalities, the private sector, nonprofit organizations and individuals. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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


DNREC Makes $1.2 Million in Nonpoint Source Pollution Grant Funding Available for Delaware Clean Water Projects

The Junction and Breakwater Trail Bridge over the Munchy Branch in Sussex County. Photo by Robert Bayles

 

Delaware residents, along with government agencies, New Castle, Kent and Sussex conservation districts, and non-profit organizations throughout the state, can help support Delaware’s continuing quest for clean water by taking advantage of an annual grant opportunity administered by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and funded through the federal Clean Water Act. More than $1.233 million in Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source grant funding for Delaware was recently announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

DNREC is soliciting proposals from eligible applicants for Section 319 grant projects that reduce Delaware’s nonpoint source (NPS) pollution and improve water quality by reducing nutrients that drain or leach into impaired Delaware waters. NPS pollution is caused by precipitation moving as overland runoff and through the ground. As runoff moves, pollutants are picked up and carried along with it, and eventually deposited into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and groundwater.

DNREC will accept Section 319 Nonpoint Source grant proposals from Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 until Feb. 9, 2022.

While eligible Section 319 projects may focus on reducing any source of NPS pollution, grant applications most frequently involve agriculture, reforestation activities, stormwater retrofits, shoreline stabilization, and restoration-based Best Management Practices (BMPs). A predominant 319 grant focus is on watersheds with water quality impairments caused by polluted runoff, along with Delaware watersheds that have approved watershed implementation plans through U.S. EPA.

“While there has been vast improvement in Delaware’s water quality, challenges still persist, and meeting those challenges is crucial to our state’s achieving our goal of clean water for all Delawareans,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “These Clean Water Act grants offer leverage for government agencies and nonprofit organizations who continue to make headway on the state’s clean water challenge. These grants help fund investments in cover crops, nutrient management, land conservation, stormwater retrofits, and tree planting projects – all of which enhance and improve water quality statewide.”

Past Delaware Section 319 grant recipients and their projects have included:

  • The Kent and Sussex Conservation Districts for implementing agricultural BMPs including cover crops, nutrient management planning, water control structures, and structural BMPs to address manure storage and composting.
  • The Delaware Botanic Gardens for urban-type BMPs such as living shorelines and stormwater facility enhancements to further water quality benefits.
  • Delaware’s Center for the Inland Bays also used 319 grant funding for stormwater retrofits, reforestation projects, and living shorelines to help filter nonpoint source pollutants.
  • The Delaware Wild Lands organization for implementing reforestation practices in the form of tree plantings on marginal cropland areas, enhancing both water quality and wildlife habitat benefits.
  • The Sussex Conservation District in cooperation with the Delmarva Chicken Association for implementing various agricultural BMPs on poultry farm production areas, including tree plantings used as windbreaks, grass buffers, pollinator habitat areas, shallow water ponds for wildlife habitat and nutrient filtering capabilities.

All projects must include match funding from a non-federal source totaling at least 67% of the federal funding requested through the Section 319 Nonpoint Source grant proposal.

More information on applying for a Clean Water Act Section 319 grant, along with the application form and DNREC NPS program contact information, can be found on the DNREC website at de.gov/319grants.

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 Watershed Stewardship develops and implements innovative watershed assessment, monitoring and implementation activities. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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DNREC Dives Into National Water Quality Month

Passage of Clean Water for Delaware Act, Clean Water Initiative
for Underserved Communities are Reasons for Celebration

As the calendar turns to August, Delaware recognizes National Water Quality Month on a tide of momentum from Governor Carney’s signing of the Clean Water for Delaware Act, hailed as landmark legislation for reviving many of the state’s waterways and ensuring all Delawareans have access to clean water.

The act is buoyed by a new $50 million Clean Water Trust to fund drinking and wastewater projects across the state, and supports the Clean Water Initiative for Underserved Communities that will enable the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control through its environmental justice mission to work toward achieving clean water for all Delawareans.

DNREC will also celebrate the completion of the Lewes Canal project, a joint effort to enhance an existing living shoreline. A method of shoreline stabilization and protection for wetlands, living shorelines absorb storm energy and protect property while reducing the potential for shoreline erosion issues. They also improve water quality by removing nitrogen that can cause algae blooms that are detrimental both to human health and aquatic life.

In addition, DNREC launched an interactive, online quiz about water quality. Anyone can test how attuned they are to the critical role water has in every aspect of human life – including the importance of drinking water and the proper treatment of wastewater. Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which initiated National Water Quality Month in 2005 – linked to the passage three decades earlier of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act – offers water education resources that include a drinking water activities website for students and teachers.

Water Quality Month provides the opportunity to learn just how precious water is for survival, and how much we should value it for sustaining human life – with only about 3% of the world’s water being freshwater, and just 1% of that freshwater potable or drinkable.

DNREC wants the public to know that everyone can help the state achieve the water quality standard for clean water and safe drinking water that all Delawareans deserve. The DNREC Division of Water section recommends taking the following actions to help improve the state’s water quality:

  • Properly store, use and dispose of chemicals and hazardous liquids (thus keeping them out of the water supply)
  • Properly maintain your septic system
  • Properly dispose of your outdated medications at a take-back event
  • Test your soil to determine if fertilizers are needed
  • Reduce use of lawn fertilizers and herbicides and pesticides, especially when rainstorms are imminent, and consider fertilizing with an alternative such as compost or compost tea
  • Volunteer for a community or statewide cleanup
  • Use rain barrels to collect rainfall for watering your lawn and garden
  • Start a rain garden that will thrive with little need of watering
  • Wash your car at commercial car wash locations where wash water is collected for proper disposal

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 Water manages and protects Delaware’s water resources. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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


DNREC Soliciting Grant Applications for Projects to Improve Water Quality in Delaware

Delawareans – along with government agencies and non-profit organizations throughout the state – can help support Delaware’s continuing quest for clean water by taking advantage of an annual grant opportunity administered by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and funded through the federal Clean Water Act. Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source grant funding for Delaware of $425,000 was recently announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with additional funds expected to be released to the state in 2021.

DNREC is soliciting – and encouraging – proposals for the Section 319 grants awarded for projects that reduce Delaware’s nonpoint source (NPS) pollution and improve water quality, chiefly by reducing nutrients and sediment that drain or leach into impaired Delaware waters. NPS pollution is caused by rainfall including stormwater moving over and through the ground. As runoff moves, pollutants are picked up and carried along with it, and deposited into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and ground water.

DNREC will accept Section 319 grant proposals for reducing NPS pollution from Monday, Dec. 7 until Feb. 8, 2021.

While eligible Section 319 projects may target any source of NPS pollution, grant applications most frequently involve agriculture, forestry production, construction, shoreline stabilization, large septic systems, and water flow engineering efforts. A predominant 319 grant focus is on watersheds with water quality impairments caused by polluted runoff.

“While there has been vast improvement in Delaware’s water quality, challenges still persist, and meeting those challenges is crucial in our state’s fight to achieve clean water for everyone,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “The Clean Water Act grants offer leverage for government agencies and nonprofit organizations in making the most of that fight. These grants help fund investments in cover crops, nutrient management, land conservation, stormwater retrofits, and tree planting projects – all of which enhance and improve water quality statewide.”

Past Delaware 319 grant recipients and their projects have included:

• The Kent and Sussex Conservation Districts for implementing agricultural best management practices (BMPs) including cover crops, nutrient management planning, water control structures, and structural BMPs to address manure storage and composting. The Delaware Botanic Gardens for urban type BMPs such as living shorelines and stormwater facility enhancements to further water quality benefits. Delaware’s Center for the Inland Bays also used 319 grant funding for living shorelines to help filter nonpoint source pollutants.
• The Delaware Wild Lands organization for implementing reforestation practices in the form of tree plantings on marginal cropland areas, enhancing both water quality and wildlife habitat benefits.
• The Sussex Conservation District in cooperation with the Delmarva Poultry Industry for implementing various agricultural BMPs on poultry farm production areas, including tree plantings used as windbreaks, grass buffers, pollinator habitat areas, shallow water ponds for wildlife habitat and nutrient filtering capabilities.

All projects must include match funding from a non-Federal source totaling at least 67% of the overall project cost.

More information on applying for a Clean Water Act Section 319 grant, along with the application form and a DNREC NPS program contact, can be found on the DNREC website at https://de.gov/319grants.

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 Watershed Stewardship develops and implements innovative watershed assessment, monitoring and implementation activities. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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