September’s Coastal Cleanup Draws More Than 2,200 Volunteers, Collects More Than 10 Tons of Trash and Recyclables

DNREC LogoDOVER  – This year’s Delaware Coastal Cleanup on Sept. 17 drew 2,222 volunteers, who collected 10.7 tons of trash from more than 40 sites along more than 80 miles of Delaware’s waterways and coastline stretching from Wilmington to Fenwick Island. This year, nearly 4 tons of that trash was recycled, including about 1.7 tons of tires and hundreds of aluminum cans and glass and plastic beverage containers.

“Thanks to everyone who supported the cleanup,” said Governor Jack Markell. “This proves that when we work together, we can make a positive impact on our environment. Thanks to the many hands of volunteers, more than 10 tons of trash has been recycled or properly disposed of instead of littering our beautiful beaches.”

“This year, Delaware became one of a handful of Coastal Cleanup sites nationally and internationally to introduce recycling as part of the event. Our volunteers did an outstanding job gathering and separating trash from recyclables, and as a result, for the first time in more than 20 years of the Delaware Coastal Cleanup, more than a third of our trash tonnage was recycled instead of going to a landfill,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara.

“We also had excellent support from this year’s sponsors. Delmarva Power has supported our Cleanup by donating t-shirts since the beginning almost 25 years ago, the Playtex Division of Energizer Personal Care has provided gloves for our volunteers for the last several years, and our newest sponsor, Waste Management, picked up the trash and recyclables from all of our sites,” said Jack Hoban, Delaware Coastal Cleanup coordinator.

This year’s biggest surprise came the day after the Cleanup, when several Delaware Bay beach communities found their beaches again covered with trash. “We believe this trash was storm debris that washed downstream as a result of flooding from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. This additional trash, which was picked up both during and after Sept. 17, accounted for the overall increase in trash picked up this year over last,” said Hoban. Over the last several cleanups, he noted that Delaware had seen a decrease in trash amounts. Last year’s cleanup netted 9.4 tons of trash.

To assist the communities hardest hit by the additional trash, DNREC extended Coastal Cleanup resources, supplying gloves, trash bags and technical support to help communities including Slaughter and Broadkill beaches clean up the additional trash. A total of more than 90 medical syringes were found before, during and after Sept. 17, believed to be part of the flood-related debris. The syringes were collected separately from the trash and properly disposed of, with support from DNREC’s Emergency Response Team.

On the annual list of interesting or unusual items found were a BMX bicycle, barbed wire, a propane tank, a woman’s wig, a retainer for braces, a flag pole, bikini bottoms, a full bottle of whiskey, 14 appliances, a port-a-potty and a rodent trap. Some items were notable in their numbers. Statewide, volunteers picked up 10,932 cigarette and cigar butts, 143 old tires, more than 3,000 plastic bags, 1,612 fishing-related items and more than 38,000 pieces of food/beverage-related trash, including more than 12,000 recyclable plastic, glass and aluminum beverage containers.

“If we could get one message out this year it’s that throwing a cigarette or cigar butt on the ground is littering,” Hoban added. “We found less smoking-related items this year but the numbers are still too high.”

Organized by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the Delaware Coastal Cleanup is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, the Ocean Conservancy’s flagship program dealing with marine debris and data collection. The types and quantities of trash collected are recorded on data cards and forwarded to the Center for Marine Conservation, which compiles the information to help identify the source of the debris and focus efforts on eliminating or reducing it.

Delaware’s next Coastal Cleanup is set for Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. Volunteers are encouraged to pre-register to ensure sites receive enough supplies. Interested volunteers can check out DNREC’s website at www.dnrec.delaware.gov next summer for registration information.

For more information on The Ocean Conservancy or the International Coastal Cleanup, visit the Conservancy’s website at www.oceanconservancy.org.


DelDOT and DNREC Sign Agreement to Move Forward with Governor’s “First State Trails and Pathways Plan”

(LEWES)Today, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Transportation Shailen Bhatt and Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara released a list of proposed statewide trails and pathways and signed a Memorandum of Agreement to develop and execute the Governor’s vision, “First State Trails and Pathways Plan.” Yesterday, the Governor announced his ideas for a proposed network of trails and pathways to expand non-motorized travel and recreational opportunities in Delaware.

Before biking advocates, elected officials and community leaders at the Delaware Bike Summit at the University of Delaware’s Virden Center in Lewes, the Cabinet Secretaries detailed a full list of nineteen (19) possible projects for public consideration in each of Delaware’s three counties.

Map of New Castle Co. Proposed Trails (PDF)New Castle County Proposed Projects

  • Northern Delaware Greenway Trail – Upgrade trail surfaces in Alapocas Run State Park; complete gaps along Talley Road and from Brandywine Zoo to N. Market Street.
  • Newark to Wilmington Pathway – Proposed to link the two cities.
  • White Clay Creek State Park – Upgrade trail surfaces; complete link along Hopkins Bridge Road between the Pomeroy Trail and Creek Road Trail; and begin design/engineering of the Tri-Valley Trail that will link ultimately link the City Newark to Paper Mill County Park through White Clay Creek State Park.
  • Auburn Heights Preserve – Complete shared use trails within the newly developing State Preserve to Hockessin.
  • New Castle Industrial Track Trail – Complete the final trail segment with a bike/pedestrian bridge over the Christina River to the walkway at the Wilmington Riverfront.
  • East Coast Greenway Trail – Frenchtown Road, US 13 to Ferry Cutoff, New Castle. Construct a patch on north side of Route 273, between Route 13 and Ferry Cutoff and additional segments.
  • Lums Pond State Park – Upgrade and enhance existing trails; create a shared-use pathway along Buck Jersey Road (inside the park) from the Park entrance to Route 71.
  • Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Trail – Construct a 9 mile trail from Delaware City to Lums Pond State Park.

 

Map of Kent Co. Proposed Trails (PDF)Kent County Proposed Projects

  • Dover to Clayton Rail Pathway – Connect the existing Scarborough Road shared-use pathway at Delaware Technical and Community College  in Dover with the town of Clayton along an existing rail right-of-way.
  • Capital Bikeway – Extend the existing 0.7 mile bicycle/pedestrian pathway through Dover to the St. Jones River Trail. This project extends the existing 1.5 mile pathway that lies between Schutte Park and West Street.
  • Isaac Branch Trail – Make improvements such as a installing a pedestrian bridge, widen sidewalks and upgrade traffic signals.
  • St. Jones River Trail – Extend and complete connections. This work will be in partnership with Dover Air Force Base.
  • Killens Pond State Park – Complete a trail gap along Killens Pond Road, linking the northern and southern Park sections.

Sussex County Proposed Projects

  • Georgetown to Lewes to Cape Henlopen State Park – Construct a regional rail-to-trail project with an initial trail segment in Lewes.
  • Junction and Breakwater Trail – Extend trail from Gills Neck Road toward Lewes and make trail upgrades along Gills Neck Road to Route 9.
  • Map of Sussex Co. Proposed Trails (PDF)Cape Henlopen State Park – Extend the Gordons Pond Trail from the observation platform north to Herring Point.  This will link the northern and southern portions of Park.
  • Assawoman Canal Trail – Design and construct approximately 1 mile of recreational trail along the Assawoman Canal in partnership with the towns of Ocean View, Bethany Beach and South Bethany Beach.
  • Fred Hudson Road –Create a link between area business and fresh pond area of Delaware Seashore State Park
  • Trap Pond State Parks – Complete the Loblolly Trail along Wootten Road filling a trail gap.

See maps of proposed trails and pathways in New Castle County, Kent County, Sussex County.

During his speech at the Bike Summit, DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt  added more specifics to the Governor’s announcement on Thursday and asked for input and participation from cycling advocates and other community leaders as the plan develops further.  Urging the state’s bicycling community to partner with his agency as well as DNREC in the effort, Bhatt said, “Starting today, let’s all get to work on the goal that Governor Markell has outlined. Let us agree that our legacy will be to make Delaware the most bike-friendly state in the country.”

Also during the Summit, DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara said, “Under Governor Markell’s leadership, Delaware has the potential to create a world class network of interconnected trails. By making strategic investments and adopting innovative public policies, we will connect our communities and make them truly bikeable and walkable.”

Bike Delaware Executive Director James Wilson noted that Governor Markell’s vision is also shared by Delaware’s legislators in both parties. “In May, the General Assembly unanimously declared that walking and bicycling are both cost-effective and healthy transportation options,” Wilson said. “Making those activities safer and more convenient will help families save money, improve public health, increase tourism, give a boost to economic development, reduce congestion, lower emissions, provide recreational opportunities and improve quality of life for Delawareans. What other transportation projects in Delaware have such an enormous and multifaceted return on public investment?”

Mark Chura, Executive Director of Delaware Greenways, noted that “today’s announcement by Governor Markell not only ties together and strengthens longstanding efforts to build a first class bicycle and pedestrian network throughout Delaware, but takes it to a whole new level.  Interconnecting our towns with their outlying suburbs and close to home recreational areas benefits us all and is a great investment in Delaware’s future.”  Chura went on to say, “We have some amazing places here in Delaware that, to most of us, are only accessible by car or not at all. The Governor’s initiative will change all that, while at the same time providing new options get out of doors and improve our health.”

The MOA signed today outlines the parameters by which the trails and pathways will be considered, including the creation of an inter-departmental team to develop and recommend a set of activities for Fiscal Year 2012 and the subsequent four fiscal years.   DelDOT and DNREC will consult with the Bicycle Council, the Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Council on Greenways and Trails with regard to the prioritization and propose a  list of projects to the Governor for consideration for funding.  Public workshops will be held with property owners, community groups and other affected stakeholders to seek input into the placement, cost and maintenance of the trail systems.   The proposed projects are supported by a $7 million appropriation from the FY 2012 Bond Bill , funding that will maximize the state’s ability to leverage federal and private dollars over time.

The Governor’s long term vision for bicycling, trails and pathways in Delaware includes:

  • Build a world class interconnected pathway network
  • Support creation of local jobs
  • Link communities internally to support local sustainable economies, and externally to grow connections between neighborhoods, towns and cities
  • Develop sustainable practices in the creation of the network, such as supporting native landscaping and natural habitats
  • Support health communities by providing affordable, active transportation choices
  • Re-establish Delaware in the Top Ten of Bicycle Friendly states  (we’re at #17 right now)
  • And, develop strategies for the ongoing maintenance and upgrades of existing facilities

“My goal is to make Delaware walkable and bikeable, so more of us can enjoy the great Delaware outdoors,” said Governor Markell.  “We can create a network of bicycle and pedestrian trails by building on existing pathways and trails.  We create jobs and connect communities across the state and at the same time, expand recreational and transportation opportunities for Delawareans and visitors.”

For more details on the proposed trails, and for links to video of Sec. Bhatt’s speech, please visit www.deldot.gov

Visit www.destateparks.com/FirstStateTrails for a copy of the proposed “First State in Trails”  priority project list.

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The Delaware Bike Summit is an annual event designed to bring together bicycling advocates, community leaders and elected officials to hear from national speakers and to create strategies on how to make Delaware more bicycle friendly. Today’s event, held at the Virden Center in Lewes is the third summit. The event is organized by the Delaware Bicycle Council, and a committee made up of members from Wilmington Area Planning Council DelDOT, Bike Delaware, Dover/Kent Metropolitan Planning Organization, White Clay Bicycle Club and Sussex Cyclists.


Governor Unveils Vision for Statewide Trails and Pathways

Map of proposed trails and pathways from DelDOTLAUREL –  Among a group of outdoors and health organizations gathered for a “Sussex Outdoors” summit today at Trap Pond State Park, Governor Markell previewed his vision for a long term “Statewide Trails and Pathways” project for Delaware.  The Governor has charged the Delaware Departments of Natural Resources and Transportation with bringing the vision to life.  The proposed program would establish an interconnected network of pathways and trails throughout the state to support non-motorized travel and recreational trails that could be enjoyed by Delawareans and by visitors.

“I want to make it a priority to build a world-class interconnected trail network in Delaware.  As an avid cyclist, I know the enjoyment one can receive from being outside,” said Governor Markell.  “ These proposed projects will expand or begin trail networks, inside and outside of state parks in all three counties.   They will help us realize a truly walkable, bikeable Delaware that all Delawareans can use and enjoy.   Our commitment to invest in outdoor opportunities helps ensure the quality of life Delawareans deserve.  At the same time, we stimulate job growth through investment in infrastructure.”

 

The Governor’s goals for the proposed Statewide Trails and Pathways program are to:

 

  • Build a world class interconnected pathway network
  • Support creation of local jobs
  • Link communities internally to support local sustainable economies, and externally to grow connections between neighborhoods, towns and cities
  • Develop sustainable practices in the creation of the network, such as supporting native landscaping and natural habitats
  • Support health communities by providing affordable, active transportation choices
  • Re-establish Delaware in the Top Ten of Bicycle Friendly states  (we’re at #17 right now)
  • And, develop strategies for the ongoing maintenance and upgrades of existing facilities.

DelDOT and DNREC have identified seventeen (17) proposed projects for discussion and possible construction over the next 2-3 years, covered  by an initial investment of $7 million earmarked for trails in the 2012 Bond Bill.   This funding will maximize the state’s ability to leverage federal and private dollars for these projects.

Today, the Governor previewed the plan, by identifying the four Sussex County projects are on the list:

 

  • a proposed a rail-to-trail from Georgetown to Lewes to Cape Henlopen, with the first phase located in Lewes
  • a proposed Junction and Breakwater Trail, to complete the missing links to Lewes and Rehoboth at the north and south ends of the trail
  • a proposed complete recreational trail at Gordons Pond in Cape Henlopen State Park linking the northern and southern portions of the park
  • a proposed partnership with Ocean View, Bethany and South Bethany to construct a recreational trail along the Assawoman Canal

A map of the proposed trails and pathway project areas in Sussex County can be found here.

Tomorrow, at the Delaware Bike Summit to be held at the University of Delaware’s Virden Center in Lewes, DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt and DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara will sign a Memorandum of Agreement outlining the responsibilities and activities of each agency to build our trails network, with financial stewardship of the program shared by both agencies.  They will also unveil the New Castle County and Kent County proposed trails and pathways projects to biking advocates, elected officials and community leaders who are discussing ways to make Delaware more bicycle friendly.

DNREC and DelDOT will also conduct a series of workshops on proposed trails so that property owners, community groups, and other interested citizens have an opportunity for input on the locations and types of trails to be constructed.   According to the latest State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan survey, conducted by DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation, 91 percent of Delawareans consider outdoor recreation important to them personally.


Sussex Outdoors Summit kicks off campaign to champion outdoor, family-friendly activity

LAUREL – Governor Jack Markell and other state and local officials announced their visions and support for “Sussex Outdoors,” a southern Delaware initiative that seeks to get families and children outdoors for physical activity and to create healthy lifestyles, at a summit on Thursday at Trapp Pond State Park. Attendees heard from national experts, state leaders, and outdoors and health organizations about strategies and opportunities for encouraging families to be more active outdoors.

Governor Markell, a nationally-recognized speaker on the importance of outdoor activity and honorary chair of Sussex Outdoors, announced his vision for a proposed trails and pathways plan to be developed through a collaborative effort of two state agencies, DNREC and DelDOT.

“These proposed projects will expand trail networks or begin trail networks, inside and outside of state parks in all three counties,” said Governor Markell. “They will help us realize a truly walkable, bikeable Delaware that all Delawareans can use and enjoy. Our continued commitment to invest in outdoor opportunities, both financially and through the efforts of community/government partnerships such as ‘Sussex Outdoors,’ will help us ensure the quality of life Delawareans deserve. By working together, we improve the health and wellbeing of our state’s children and stimulate job growth through investment in infrastructure at the same time.”

John Hollis, Sussex County Manager of Nemours Health and Prevention Services, one of the sponsors of the event, challenged summit attendees: “Sussex County has been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control as one of 40 communities nationally that will focus on the lifestyle changes that will be healthier both physically and emotionally.”

Other sponsors of the summit were the Sussex County Council, Sussex County Health Promotion Coalition, Sanofi Aventis, and Bike Delaware. “Sussex Outdoors” is a partnership of DNREC Sussex County Council, Sussex Child Health Promotion Coalition, and Nemours Health and Prevention Services.

In addition to DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara, state Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee and DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf, speakers promoting outdoor physical activity included Mark Fenton, one of the nation’s foremost experts on walking and host of the new PBS series, America’s Walking; Rich Killingsworth, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer for the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, and innovator of the Active Living by Design program.

All speakers emphasized the connection between sedentary lifestyles and poor health, and contrasted that with the link between physical activity and good health.

Attendees participated in workshops that included such topics as an overview of Sussex trails and current opportunities presented by Delaware State Parks, Sussex Master Planning and the Sussex Land Trust.

Keynote speakers issued a call of action challenging each leader to encourage active outdoor activity wherever and with whomever they may come in contact with. “We passed along to everyone the importance of engaging in active outside activity, wherever that may be,” Hollis continued. “We want this call to action to go viral at the community and state level for everyone to get out and enjoy the outdoors.”


Officials Mark Kickoff of Second Phase of Yorklyn Revitalization Project

YORKLYN – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation kicked off the second phase of a project designed to revitalize the town of Yorklyn in the northwest corner of the state into a vibrant, lively and scenic centerpiece while still retaining its mill town roots.

Plans are moving forward after a public-private partnership was established to map out the future of the town. Today, Governor Jack Markell, DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara and numerous other officials were on hand as DNREC hosted a groundbreaking event to mark the end of Phase 1 and the beginning of Phase 2 of the project, the Auburn Valley Master Plan. The project is expected to boost economic development and ecological restoration in the scenic area, and add to state parkland at the Auburn Heights Preserve located in the Red Clay Valley near the Pennsylvania state line.

“What you see here is the beginning of a new era in Yorklyn. It also represents the best example of how the state can work with private and public partners to build something truly special that benefits everyone in the community,” said Governor Jack Markell. “This project will be unique in its aesthetics and make Yorklyn a shining historic treasure for Delaware tourism.”

At the event, officials acknowledged completion of the $1.6-million, FEMA-funded demolition of the corporate headquarters of the former NVF manufacturing plant and zinc treatment facility, and began the demolition project for the main plant – making way for the unique redevelopment site that will include historic buildings, wetlands, flood mitigation areas and multi-use trails.

“This is one of the most complex public-private projects in the nation that transforms a shuttered site into a model of preservation, and redevelopment that will bring economic opportunity and prosperity to the area,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “The site is undergoing an environmental cleanup of nearly a century of historic contamination, as well as a stream restoration project that will not only improve water quality and protect fish in the Red Clay Creek, but will also reduce the severe flooding that has resulted in significant economic impacts to Yorklyn. With the beautiful, historic setting of Yorklyn as a backdrop, we believe the synergy created by the master plan – which includes a trail, an antique car loop, and steam railroad – will make this a uniquely Delaware destination.”

The goal of the public-private partnership is to reclaim the former mill town by cleaning up contaminated areas, restoring floodplains and expanding on tourism-drawing development. Not only does the plan call for shopping and restaurant development, but also a trail system that will connect the new commercial sites with historic and natural areas, in addition to connecting to existing attractions like the Marshall Steam Museum and the Delaware Nature Society.

The partnership is made up of private developers, neighboring organizations, and several divisions of DNREC, including the Division of Parks and Recreation, the Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances’ Site Investigation and Restoration Section, and the Division of Water. Partners outside DNREC include the Delaware Economic Development Office, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the court-appointed trustee for NVF, and Auburn Village LLC. The project was further bolstered by strong support from neighboring property owners, as well as conservation and recreational organizations in the Yorklyn area.

The Auburn Heights Preserve, part of the Delaware State Parks system, is home to the historic Marshall estate, which is managed through a partnership between Delaware State Parks and the Friends of Auburn Heights Preserve. The Friends group owns a world-class collection of operating vintage steam cars, including 14 Stanley Steamers and the miniature Auburn Valley Railroad.

The NVF Company produced vulcanized fiber and related products in Yorklyn until declaring bankruptcy in April 2009.