DNREC Inland Bays Wetland Strategy Details Restoration Plans for Wetlands and Submerged Aquatic Vegetation

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has finalized a strategy to address several specific wetlands and aquatic vegetation issues in the Inland Bays watershed. Published by the DNREC Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program (WMAP), the Inland Bays Wetland Restoration Strategy plan covers the Inland Bays watershed, which drains 210,064 acres of land in southern Delaware. According to Delaware’s 2017 Statewide Wetland Mapping Project, 58,906 acres of the basin are wetlands. This acreage represents 20% of all of Delaware’s wetlands.

The primary purpose of this strategy is to identify key tactics for addressing issues affecting tidal wetlands, non-tidal wetlands, and submerged aquatic vegetation in the Inland Bays watershed, while also identifying priority areas on public land where the tactics could be implemented. WMAP used past wetland health assessments, documented changes in wetland acreage in the recent decade, and interviews from more than 12 conservation organizations to compile the strategy. WMAP also used spatial analysis methods to identify optimal tidal and non-tidal wetland restoration opportunities on public protected lands in the Inland Bays.

The Inland Bays Wetland Restoration Strategy plan contains a comprehensive overview of major issues faced by wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation, such as sea level rise and invasive species, in the Inland Bays and the diverse tactics that can be used to address the problems. The tactics and tasks outlined align with seven major themes from Delaware’s 2021-2025 Wetland Program Plan: mapping, monitoring, climate adaptation, restoration, collaboration, conservation, and education.

The DNREC-produced plan can be cited by conservation groups and organizations to prioritize projects and justify funding requests for wetland or submerged aquatic vegetation restoration projects in the Inland Bays. The plan also supports wetland management goals of several entities, including the Delaware Wildlife Action Plan created by DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). As other conservation groups working in the Inland Bays may not have a concrete wetland and submerged aquatic vegetation-related strategy, the Inland Bays Wetland Restoration Strategy also could serve as a starting point for understanding current Delaware wetlands and aquatic vegetation issues, while encouraging collaboration toward resolving them.

For more information about DNREC’s Inland Bays Wetland Strategy, visit dnrec.delaware.gov.

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; Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov

New video series – ‘One Minute Wetlands’ – now available on DNREC’s YouTube Channel

DOVER – The new Delaware Wetlands video series, “One-Minute Wetlands,” premieres this week on DNREC’s YouTube Channel with two new videos: “Free Ranging Marshes” and “Marsh Gas.” The series is produced by DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship, Wetland Monitoring & Assessment Program, in conjunction with DNREC’s Public Affairs Office, and provides an intended grade school audience with a quick look into wetland hot topics and fun facts.

“Free Ranging Marshes” addresses marsh migration, the process of wetlands naturally creeping away from open water as sea levels rise. “Marsh Gas” offers a comical look at the chemical process behind that distinctive sulfur odor emanating from Delaware’s salt marshes – one of the most common questions the Wetland Monitoring & Assessment Program receives.

In addition to the “One Minute Wetlands” series, the DNREC YouTube Channel offers a wide variety of fun, interesting and educational videos, most of which are written and produced in-house by DNREC’s Public Affairs Office.

To view “Free Ranging Marshes,” “Marsh Gas,” and other DNREC YouTube Channel videos, please visit youtube.com/delawarednrec.

For more information about Delaware’s wetlands, visit de.gov/DelawareWetlands.

Vol. 47, No. 265

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

Nominations sought for Delaware’s 2013 Wetland Warrior: Award honors exemplary efforts that benefit the state’s wetlands

DOVER (April 9, 2013) – DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program is seeking nominations for the 2013 Delaware Wetland Warrior Award, which recognizes exemplary efforts to protect wetlands and the critical services they provide to all Delawareans.

The Wetland Warrior award, now in its sixth year, is presented annually to a citizen, organization, business or group that has demonstrated outstanding efforts to benefit Delaware wetlands through outreach and education, monitoring and assessment, or restoration and protection. The award will be presented on Governor’s Day, Thursday, July 25, at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington.

Information on submitting a nomination is available on DNREC’s Delaware Wetlands web page. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, June 21. For more information, please contact Wetland Outreach Specialist Maggie Pletta at 302-739-9939, or email Margaret.Pletta@delaware.gov.

“The award recognizes wetland stewards who have made an effort to help ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the natural services provided by wetlands that contribute to our quality of life including clean water, flood and storm protection, and wildlife habitat,” said Pletta. “Wetland Warriors are Delaware’s environmental heroes – who work tirelessly to slow wetland loss, help restore degraded wetlands, preserve habitat, increase awareness of the value of wetlands and bolster support for their protection.”

The 2012 Wetland Warrior recipients were:

  • Clif Bakhsh of Middletown, a member of Delaware Ducks Unlimited’s Appoquinimink Chapter who has been active for more than 25 years in numerous local and national roles, was recognized for his dedication to preserving open space in Delaware and to educating children about the benefits of wetlands.
  • David Carter, a biologist and wetland professional with DNREC for more than 25 years, was recognized for his use of innovative planning and funding tools to improve the management and protection of wetlands in the state, as well as supporting outreach and education initiatives such as Thank You Delaware Bay.

For a complete list of past recipients, visit DNREC’s Wetland Warrior Page.

Delaware has more than 320,000 acres of wetlands, comprising about 25 percent of the state’s area. Wetlands protect lives and property from the impacts of floods and storms, filter pollutants and improve water quality, reduce erosion and provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife. Almost every part of our state is within one mile of a wetland – making wetland protection vital to our health and safety.

DNREC studies indicate that over the past 15 years, more than 3,896 acres of wetlands were lost statewide due to conversion to other land uses. This acreage is significant because in the previous 10-year period, the total statewide wetland loss was 1,996 acres. These recent trends make recognizing the conservationists who have prioritized wetlands even more important. It is through natural resource stewards, such as Wetland Warrior, that Delaware will protect its natural treasures.

Check out the “How You Can Help” webpage to learn more about opportunities to protect wetlands. Here you can find the Wetland Public Participation Guidebook, a comprehensive resource developed to inspire citizens to take actions to protect wetlands. Also featured is the latest information on wetland health, wetland loss studies, regulations, wetland impacts and how they can be prevented, and how the public can get involved with local land use decisions that could affect wetlands. Also on the webpage is a new wetlands video highlighting wetland benefits, Purify, Provide, and Protect.  

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

Vol. 43, No. 137