Governor Carney, DNREC, DelDOT and partners break ground for saltmarsh boardwalk project at Slaughter Beach

SLAUGHTER BEACH – This morning, Delaware Governor John Carney joined DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin, DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan, state legislators, conservation partners, and the community of Slaughter Beach to celebrate the groundbreaking for the Marvel Saltmarsh Preserve Boardwalk project. The boardwalk and overlook will enable visitors, including schoolchildren, to walk out onto the saltmarsh to view and experience this amazing Bayshore ecosystem and its natural resources up close.

Photo: Governor John Carney, DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin, DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan, Slaughter Beach Mayor Harry Ward, Federal Highway Administration Division Administrator Mary Ridgeway, Delaware Nature Society Acting Executive Director Anne Harper and DNS members, state legislators, Marvel family members, and residents break ground for the Marvel Saltmarsh Preserve Boardwalk.

“The scenic overlook that we are building here will provide a new opportunity to enjoy this saltmarsh landscape and a diverse array of wildlife year round,” said Governor Carney. “This project will help Delawareans, and visitors to our state, discover our state’s rich history and natural heritage, as well as the Bayshore’s natural beauty.”

“This project is a major enhancement to a premier destination in our Bayshore region, giving visitors unique access to a new outdoor recreation opportunity,” said Secretary Garvin. “Visitors also will have the opportunity to learn about our dynamic coastal marsh systems, the plants and animals they support, and the coastal communities like Slaughter Beach that depend on them.”

“DelDOT is pleased to partner with DNREC and the Town of Slaughter Beach in the construction of a scenic overlook along the Delaware Nature Society’s Marvel tract,” said Secretary Cohan. “This overlook will be another great addition to the Delaware Bayshore Byway that showcases our beautiful state.”

Owned and managed by the Delaware Nature Society, the 109-acre Marvel Saltmarsh Preserve was donated to DNS in 1988 by the Marvel family of Milford – Randy and Linda Marvel, and Harvey and Kate Marvel, who attended today’s event. The preserve is home to many species, including fiddler crabs, blue crabs, grass shrimp, mollusks, and insects, as well as being a premier birding destination, with marsh wrens, seaside sparrows, clapper rails, great egrets, willets, and osprey. The Y-shaped, accessible boardwalk design, totaling approximately 345 feet, will provide access to a marsh pool at one end and a view of a nearby constructed osprey nest platform from an elevated observation platform at the other end. The boardwalk will enhance the environmental education programs DNS hosts for more than 1,000 students and families annually at the preserve.

The Marvel Saltmarsh Preserve scenic overlook project was made possible by a partnership between DNREC, DelDOT, DNS, and the Town of Slaughter Beach, with funding for design, engineering, and construction coming from multiple sources. Initial design and engineering funding was provided through a grant from DNREC’s Outdoor Recreation Parks and Trails grant program, with additional funding from DNREC’s Delaware Bayshore Initiative. Project construction funding is from the U.S Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration via DelDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program, which requires matching funds from a sponsor. With a long-term land lease between DNS and the town in place, Slaughter Beach is serving as the match sponsor, with a second grant from DNREC’s Outdoor Recreation Parks and Trails grant program. State Senator Gary Simpson and State Representative Harvey Kenton provided additional state funding from the Community Transportation Fund. The Delaware Nature Society also assisted and supported Slaughter Beach’s fundraising efforts by acquiring additional funds from the Delmarva Ornithological Society, Milford Lions Club, and Dogfish Head Brewery.

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

DNREC hosts video premiere of ‘Delaware Bayshore Forever’ at the State Fair

HARRINGTON – Today at the Delaware State Fair, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin welcomed Governor John Carney, DNREC conservation partners and guests to the DNREC Building’s theater for the premiere of “Delaware Bayshore Forever,” a new video produced for DNREC by Michael Oates and Jeanne Covert of 302 Stories, Inc.

The 12-minute video takes viewers on a land and aerial tour of the Bayshore’s important ecological, economic, cultural, and historic resources, as well as featuring some of the people who care deeply about the region’s unique natural and cultural heritage, and depend upon its rich and abundant resources.

The video supports DNREC’s partner program, “Bayshore Forever – A 21st Century Land Conservation and Restoration Strategy for Delaware’s Bayshore Region.” This program establishes goals to protect and restore Bayshore habitats that will increase resiliency and adaptation, reduce erosion and flooding, and protect wildlife through projects including habitat protection with interested landowners, enhancement of coastal impoundments and water control structures, restoration of forest buffers and tidal marshes, and managing invasive species.

In addition to DNREC, program partners include The Nature Conservancy, Delaware Wild Lands, The Conservation Fund, Delaware Nature Society, Ducks Unlimited, Delmarva Ornithological Society, Delaware Greenways, Kent County Conservancy, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

To view “Delaware Bayshore Forever,” visit DNREC YouTube.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 47, No. 171


DuPont Nature Center closed, reopening April 1, 2017

SLAUGHTER BEACH – The DuPont Nature Center at Mispillion Harbor Reserve has closed for the year, and will reopen Saturday, April 1, 2017 for the busy spring and summer seasons. The center is owned and operated by DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife and provides programming and exhibits about Delaware Bayshore aquatic life.

The DuPont Nature Center closes during the fall and winter months when there is less public use of the center, which makes better use of the limited federal Sport Fish Restoration Funds used to operate the center. Cost savings from the winter closure supports aquatic education programs during spring and summer when public programs and visitation are in most demand.

Federal Sport Fish Restoration Funds also support construction and maintenance of public boat ramps and fishing piers throughout the state, as well as a variety of the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Fisheries research, survey and management programs. For more information, visit

Perched on the edge of Mispillion Harbor at the intersection of the mouths of the Mispillion River and Cedar Creek, the DuPont Nature Center at Mispillion Harbor Reserve offers a variety of interactive exhibits, school tours and educational programs. In the spring, its location offers wildlife watchers a front-row seat for the spring spectacle of spawning horseshoe crabs and migrating shorebirds, including the red knot, that depend on horseshoe crab eggs to help fuel their 9,000-mile journey. A Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife facility, the center is located at 2992 Lighthouse Road, east of Milford. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information about the DuPont Nature Center and its programs, please call 302-422-1329 or visit

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 353


Delaware fourth graders ‘Make a Splash’ and learn about protecting water resources

Station 3, The Power of Water: While a group of fourth graders at the Make a Splash Festival shout a countdown, a rocket made from an ordinary plastic bottle with air and water inside gathers pressure for a launch. (DNREC photo by Joanna Wilson)

DOVER – More than 720 fourth-grade students from seven elementary schools participated in today’s Make a Splash festival, an event that educates students on the diversity of estuary life and the importance of Delaware’s water resources. The festival was held at the St. Jones Reserve, a component of the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Division of Historical & Cultural Affairs’ John Dickinson Plantation near Dover – wonderful locations for the students to explore past and present water resource issues.

“Make a Splash provides the students with hands-on experiences that tie together everything they have learned this school year about land, water and Delaware history,” said Maggie Pletta, education coordinator with DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs. “It is our hope that providing the students with this opportunity will help them connect what they learned in the classroom to real life, and experiencing those connections will ignite a flame in them making the next generation of Delaware’s water resource stewards.”

The Long Haul
Students at Station No. 7 – “The Long Haul” – transporting water by bucket as was done in earlier times in Delaware

Students visited 25 activity stations dedicated to the historical and current uses of Delaware’s water resources. At a station called “The Incredible Journey,” students learned about how water moves through the water cycle and how only a relatively small amount of the world’s water is actually available for human use on the earth. At other stations, they explored marine debris and micro-plastics, water pollution and solutions, Delaware’s wetlands, mosquitoes, the uses of water in colonial cooking, water concentration, historical use of water wheels and groundwater, just to name a few.

“We look forward to this event every year,” said Amy Tierson, a fourth grade teacher at Booker T. Washington Elementary School. “What the students are learning here ties in well with our science unit on land and water, including great visuals explaining the water cycle and an introduction to what an estuary is.”

Mrs. Tierson’s students were especially excited about Station 3, “The Power of Water,” which demonstrated how water and air interact to transform an ordinary plastic bottle into a rocket. “The water rockets are really cool!” said Kamryn Davenport. “I learned how water and air molecules can push out of bottles to make a rocket!” added Kendal Owens.

Delaware’s Make a Splash festival has been educating students and encouraging actions to help protect water resources for 17 years. The 2016 planning committee included representatives from: the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; Delaware Project WET; Delaware Division of Historical & Cultural Affairs’ John Dickinson Plantation; and Tidewater Utilities.

Schools that participated included: Booker T. Washington Elementary , Dover; Brandywine Springs School, Wilmington; Lighthouse Christian School, Dagsboro; Phillis Wheatley Elementary, Bridgeville; Richard Shields Elementary, Lewes; Towne Point Elementary, Dover; and W.B. Simpson Elementary, Camden.

More than 100 volunteers – educators, scientists, teachers and parents – participated in today’s festival and included staff from: Delaware Department of Agriculture; Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve; Delaware Nature Society; Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs; Kent Conservation District; New Castle Conservation District; Sussex Conservation District; Tidewater Utilities; Envirotech Inc.; and Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, Office of Drinking Water.

To explore the many educational opportunities and workshops offered at DNREC’s Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, contact Maggie Pletta at 302-739-6377 or visit

This project is part of Delaware’s Children in Nature Initiative, a statewide effort to improve environmental literacy in Delaware, create opportunities for children to participate in enriching outdoor experiences, combat childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles. Delaware’s multi-agency initiative, which partners state and federal agencies with community organizations, is part of the national No Child Left Inside program. For more information, click Children in Nature.

This project is part of DNREC’s Bayshore Initiative, a landscape approach to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat, increase volunteer participation in habitat stewardship projects, enhance low-impact outdoor recreation and ecotourism opportunities, and promote associated environmentally compatible economic development. For more information, click Delaware Bayshore.

Media Contacts: Melanie Rapp or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 111

Training workshop on managing invasive plants set for April 24; registration required by April 22

DOVER (April 15, 2013) – A training workshop on preventing and managing invasive plants and supporting healthy habitats will be held 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 24 at the St. Jones Reserve, 818 Kitts Hummock Road in Dover.  The workshop is a partnership among DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Training Program, the Delaware Invasive Species Council and the Mid-Atlantic Invasive Plant Council.

Registration is required by Monday, April 22 by visiting or contacting Kelly Valencik, at or 302-739-6377.

Civic associations, nonprofit groups, community organizations, local governments and municipalities, landowners and environmental educators are invited to attend and learn how to successfully establish and support a Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA).

CWMAs are local organizations that bring together community members like landowners and land managers to coordinate actions and share expertise and resources to manage common weed species. The spread of invasive species is a pervasive and growing problem within Delaware and the United States.The economic and ecological threats of invasive plants has led to many CWMA groups being established throughout the U.S.

Invasive species typically harm native plants by competing for resources, such as space, sunlight, water and minerals, and can disrupt natural habitats and impact other organisms, such as birds and mammals. These harmful invaders spread at astonishing rates – negatively affecting property values, agricultural productivity, public utility operations, native fisheries, tourism, outdoor recreation and the overall health of an ecosystem. Early detection and rapid response and control are key to managing invasive plants.

Workshop presentations will be given by people who have successfully developed and implemented CWMAs in the mid-Atlantic region and will include discussions on the challenges and rewards of those efforts. Simple steps on establishing a CWMA will also be presented.

The registration fee is $15 and includes lunch and refreshments.  Payment should be made by an intergovernmental voucher for state employees, or for all others, by check payable to the “State of Delaware.”  Please mail checks to:

     Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve
     c/o Kelly Valencik
     818 Kitts Hummock Road
     Dover, DE 19901

This training, originally scheduled for last November, is being rescheduled for April 24. If previously registered, re-registration is required to confirm attendance.

Vol. 43, No. 146                                                                   

As a part of its mission, the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve is committed to promoting informed decision making through the Delaware Coastal Training Program. This program addresses critical coastal resource management issues in Delaware by providing current scientific information, access to technologies and skill-building opportunities to Delawareans responsible for making decisions about the state’s coastal resources.

The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve is a partnership between the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. DNERR is administered through the Delaware Coastal Programs Section of DNREC’s Office of the Secretary.

This project is part of DNREC’s Bayshore Initiative, a landscape approach to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat, increase volunteer participation in habitat stewardship projects, enhance low-impact outdoor recreation and ecotourism opportunities, and promote associated environmentally compatible economic development. For more information, click Delaware Bayshore.

 Contact: Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902