DNREC Seeks Volunteers for Delaware Coastal Cleanup Sept. 17

Volunteers picking up trash on the beach in a past Delaware Coastal Cleanup. (2017)

 

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is hosting the 35th annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to noon at 41 sites statewide to help keep the state’s beaches and waterways free of trash. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up for the one-day coordinated event when online volunteer registration opens on Monday, Aug. 1.

In addition, Delawareans and visitors are invited to join the month-long campaign starting Sept. 1 to clean up neighborhoods, green spaces and waterways throughout the state on days, times and at locations of their choice. The coordinated event and month-long campaign support Governor John Carney’s Keep DE Litter Free initiative.

“In 2019, we launched the Keep DE Litter Free initiative with the goal of building stronger communities and working together to keep our state beautiful by keeping our coastlines and outdoor spaces clear of litter,” Governor Carney said. “I thank our other state and local partners who plan and support the Delaware Coastal Cleanup, and I encourage all Delawareans to participate on cleanup day – and all year round.”

“DNREC encourages all Delawareans and visitors to make time to help keep our beaches, waterways and wetlands clean and free of trash throughout the year,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “The Coastal Cleanup is a great reminder that volunteers of all ages can make a difference, whether they sign up for the Sept. 17 statewide cleanup event or choose their own time, date and place to pick up trash.”

Volunteers picking up trash on the beach at Fox Point in New Castle County in a past Delaware Coastal Cleanup. (2019)
Volunteers picking up trash on the beach at Fox Point in New Castle County in a past Delaware Coastal Cleanup. (2019)

For the Sept. 17 coordinated cleanup, volunteers should sign up by Wednesday, Aug. 31 for their choice of sites through the Coastal Cleanup page at de.gov/coastalcleanup. Site captains with supplies will be on site to sign in volunteers and provide trash bags and directions. Although gloves, paper data cards and pencils will be available upon request, volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves and to use the online Coastal Cleanup reporting tool, when it goes live Sept. 1, to share their findings. Walkups are not encouraged due to volunteer site capacity limitations.

Find ideas about how to get involved in the 2022 Delaware Coastal Cleanup on Facebook and Twitter. Volunteers in both the coordinated event on Sept. 17 and the month-long campaign can post photos on facebook.com/DelawareDNREC for a chance to win a 2023 Delaware State Parks pass and a prize bag. Volunteers can post photos as often as they like throughout the month, with each photo counting as a one entry. All volunteers should also report their findings and are invited to share photos through the Coastal Cleanup page. Results will be updated during all month long and will appear on an interactive map.

Last year, nearly 600 volunteers filled about 400 bags, cleaning up 5,500 pounds of trash from waterways, wetlands and other natural areas. The top five trash items collected were: 7,671 cigarette butts; 2,921 plastic and glass beverage bottles and cans; 1,785 food containers; 846 plastic bags; and 381 balloons.

Cleaning up locally makes a big difference statewide and keeps trash from entering waterways and making its way to beaches and beyond. DNREC suggests several ways to help make a difference all year long:

  • Be proactive by picking up trash near your home to keep your neighborhood clean.
  • Follow a carry-in/carry out plan and take all trash with you when visiting outdoor spaces, like Delaware State Parks, DNREC wildlife areas, Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve locations, and county or local parks.
  • Pack a bag and rubber gloves when you take a walk, go for a hike, go hunting or fishing, etc., to collect and carry out trash you find along the way.
  • Recycle applicable items through in-home recycling or designated drop-off locations. Learn more at de.gov/recycling.

DNREC reminds everyone to wear gloves when picking up trash, wash hands thoroughly after cleanup activities, and follow all recent public area protocols, including the most current COVID-19 guidance.

More information and volunteer registration can be found at de.gov/coastalcleanup. Volunteers also can email questions to DNREC_Coastal_Cleanup@delaware.gov.

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. 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.


DNREC Honors Young Environmentalists, Youth Fishing Tournament Winners at Delaware State Fair

DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin and Governor John Carney with the 2022 DNREC Young Environmentalists: middle school honoree Anna Spence, high school honoree James Haley and elementary school honoree Tao Le Marchand; and Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. DNREC photo.

 

At the Delaware State Fair in Harrington today, Governor John Carney and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin honored three Delaware students as DNREC’s Young Environmentalists of the Year for their work to protect, restore or enhance our state’s natural resources, and the three winners of the 2022 Youth Fishing Tournament.

“DNREC’s Young Environmentalist awards are an annual reminder of how today’s young people are stepping up to take leadership roles in caring for our natural resources and advocating for the health of our environment. Today, we recognize three of these young Delawareans who are already making a difference today to help ensure a better tomorrow,” said Secretary Garvin. “We also recognize the three young anglers who caught the most fish in this year’s Youth Fishing Tournament, a conservation-minded event to introduce children to the joy of catching – and releasing – fish.”

Young Environmentalist of the Year Awards:

  • Elementary School:
    Tao Le Marchand, age 10, of Newark, who goes by Ty, is passionate about endangered species. He created his own foundation, Foxtrot, raised $400 for the Wolf Sanctuary of PA and advocated for wolves to be returned to the federal endangered species list by lobbying the White House. Ty also is active in North Star Elementary School’s Earth Club and plans to study zoology toward a career in wildlife conservation.
  • Middle School:
    Anna Spence, age 13, of Harrington, noticed Styrofoam cups strewn around the cafeteria and playground at Lake Forest Central Elementary. She created a presentation that she shared with her principal and superintendent, successfully advocating for change: replace Styrofoam with paper cups, which decompose much faster than Styrofoam.
  • High School:
    James Haley, age 15, of Bethany Beach, planned and executed his Eagle Scout environmental community service project with the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, leading a team to perform GPS mapping of submerged aquatic vegetation in tributaries of the Inland Bays. For four days this spring, James and the team mapped local tributaries and accrued 146 team hours of environmental community service. This mapping data will help restore and expand beds of seagrass in the Inland Bays, providing habitat for crustaceans and fish. James also earned the Scouts BSA 50th Anniversary Environmental Protection Agency Award and merit badges in the areas of animal studies, outdoor activities, earth science, and public health.

Now in its 29th year, DNREC’s Young Environmentalist of the Year Awards program recognizes Delaware students whose actions have helped protect, restore or enhance our natural resources by initiating an innovative project, practicing environmental stewardship, increasing public awareness or demonstrating environmental ethics. More information about the program can be found at de.gov/YoungEnvironmentalists.

2022 Youth Fishing Tournament Winners:

DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin and Governor John Carney with the 2022 Youth Fishing Tournament winners: Sussex County winner Brody Spencer, Kent County winner Dominic Webb, New Castle County and statewide winner Onna Crowley; Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long; and DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Dave Saveikis. DNREC photo.
DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin and Governor John Carney with the 2022 Youth Fishing Tournament winners: Sussex County winner Brody Spencer, Kent County winner Dominic Webb, New Castle County and statewide winner Onna Crowley; Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long; and DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Dave Saveikis. DNREC photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2022 Youth Fishing Tournament winners honored were:

  • Statewide and New Castle County winner Onna Crowley, age 13, of Clayton, took top honors by catching 18.8 pounds of fish in Lums Pond, including the biggest fish of the day statewide, a 12.1-pound carp.
  • Sussex County winner Brody Spencer, age 10, of Dagsboro, came in second place statewide, catching 7.19 pounds of fish at Ingrams Pond.
  • Kent County winner Dominic Webb, age 10, of Clayton took third place statewide, catching 5.25 pounds of fish at the Akridge Scout Reservation pond.

Established by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife and sponsored by the Delaware Natural Resources Police, the tournament introduces youth to the sport of fishing and teaches the catch-and-release approach to conservation. The 36th annual Youth Fishing Tournament was held June 4 at three locations, one in each county: Ingrams Pond in Sussex County, Akridge Scout Reservation in Kent County, and Lums Pond in New Castle County. More information about the annual tournament is available at de.gov/yft.

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. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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DNREC Set to Begin Emergency Dredging Project Restoring Navigability in the Murderkill River

The Murderkill River, shown here where it meets the Delaware Bay at Bowers, will be dredged in August to improve navigation for commercial and recreational vessels. DNREC photo.

 

An emergency dredging project is set to begin and be completed by the end of August to restore navigability in the Murderkill River, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today. Permitted by and with modification approvals from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and DNREC regulators, the project calls for removing approximately 52,000 cubic yards of sediment from the river’s navigation channel. DNREC will then make beneficial reuse of the dredged sand to nourish up to 1,000 feet of eroding shoreline at South Bowers Beach.

Funding for the $2.3 million project comes from appropriations to DNREC made under fiscal year 2022 and 2023 Bond Bills, both of which named the Murderkill River as a dredging priority.

“This important state-funded dredging project in the Murderkill River will restore navigability of the channel while bolstering shoreline resiliency in South Bowers,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “It’s a win-win in two critical DNREC areas of responsibility: navigable waterways and infrastructure support. Thanks to our partners – the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the town of Bowers and the South Bowers Volunteer Fire Company – for working with us to bring a much-needed dredging project to fruition.”

U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure this project could begin.

“After working to secure the necessary federal permits from the Army Corps of Engineers, I’m so glad that this project will now be able to begin and restore the Murderkill River to its full potential,” said Senator Carper. “In the Senate, I’m leading the effort to pass bipartisan legislation that would support navigability in our waters for years to come. Enacting this legislation will ensure towns across our state can better access the help they need to maintain their infrastructure.”

The Murderkill River is a federally-authorized navigation project that requires periodic dredging to maintain the safety and navigable access to the river, critically important to commercial and emergency vessels as well as recreational boating. The river forms the southern boundary of the Town of Bowers – a popular boating area with its docks, DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife-owned boat launch and large parking area – before flowing into the Delaware Bay.

In early 2022, DNREC removed sand from the Murderkill Inlet’s navigation channel but was limited by having to use a land-based excavator, and navigation continued to be challenge at low tide, especially in the mile-long approach channel to the Inlet. Nautical dredging equipment to be deployed next month will deepen the channel. An onshore staging area, made possible through a temporary construction easement agreement between DNREC and the South Bowers Volunteer Fire Company, will help facilitate the project. Dredging will be carried out by Cottrell Contracting Corp. of Chesapeake, Va., with almost a century-long record of Eastern Seaboard infrastructure dredging.

“Nourishing the South Bowers shoreline is a vitally important defense of the coastal community against extreme weather, an impact of climate change,” said Jesse Hayden, DNREC Shoreline and Waterway Management Section administrator. “The beach-quality sand from this latest dredging project will be used to extend the area of an earlier beach replenishment project that also utilized dredged sand from the Murderkill’s navigation channel.”

With the project expected to start on or about Aug. 1, the U.S. Coast Guard soon will give notice for mariners to exercise caution and maintain safe distance from the dredging activity – to include floating and submerged pipelines in the Murderkill, and the dredge and support vessels in the area. The USCG also advises that commercial fishing nets, crab pots and other structures removed from the dredging area before work begins.

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: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov


DNREC, Woodlawn Trustees Preserve Access to Popular Trail Along Brandywine Creek

Hikers enjoy a walk along the entryway to a vital part of the northern Delaware trail system along the Brandywine Creek. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation worked with Woodlawn Trustees to purchase and preserve a parcel of land for public recreational use along this pathway. /DNREC photo

 

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control joins the Woodlawn Trustees to announce their collaborative effort to preserve a parcel of land that provides entryway to a vital part of the northern Delaware trail system along the Brandywine Creek.

In conjunction with the Delaware Open Space Program, the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation worked with Woodlawn Trustees to purchase and preserve the property, located along Rockland Falls Road in Rockland, which was for sale.

Purchase of the formally private property guarantees uninterrupted public access to the trail. The existing trail runs alongside Brandywine Creek and provides beautiful hiking access into Brandywine Creek State Park and the First State National Historical Park.

The acquisition adds 2.27 acres to the 407-acre forest block already preserved by the division on east side of the Brandywine River and expands Brandywine Creek State Park to a total of 894 acres. By protecting this portion of the woods, the division also eliminated the possible disruption of the historic viewshed from places like the scenic Hawk Watch vista and preserved the trail experience.

“This critical land acquisition is one of the last land holdings in the core of Brandywine Creek State Park that could have been developed. It eliminates vehicle access and the ability for structures to be built along a popular trail,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Land stewardship is at the heart of the work both DNREC and Woodlawn Trustees do, and we are fortunate to have their continued partnership in land conservation.”

The collaborative effort between the state and Woodlawn Trustees dates to the early 1960s with the creation of Brandywine Creek State Park. In 1963, Woodlawn Trustees donated $200,000 to help DNREC and Delaware Nature Society acquire land for the Brandywine Creek State Park. DNREC matched Woodlawn’s donation and then purchased a 433-acre Dairy Farm owned by the du Pont family that became the state park, known for its old growth forest remnants, meadowland views and blue gneiss stone walls built in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

In 1981, the Woodlawn Trustees transferred 350 acres to the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation, nearly doubling the size of the park. Woodlawn donated 125 acres of the land to DNREC, which received matching federal funding to buy the other half from Woodlawn.

The after-tax proceeds of the sale totaled $530,000, which Woodlawn Trustees used to create the Brandywine Creek Woodlawn Fund, a permanent endowment for the park. The Division of Parks and Recreation has utilized the fund, which was transferred to the Delaware Community Foundation in 2019, to support park operations, maintenance and security. That funding accounts for about 1/3 of the park’s annual operating budget each year.

“The preservation of the Rockland property highlights how DNREC and Woodlawn trustees are dedicated to partnering for the benefit of natural resources,” said Woodlawn Trustees President and CEO Richard T. Przywara. “This project enlarges and strengthens our shared vision of providing access to open space for hiking, cycling and horseback riding.”

As part of the purchase, Woodlawn Trustees will also contribute $10,000 to the Brandywine Creek State Park Fund at the Delaware Community Foundation.

For more information about the Woodlawn Trustees, visit https://woodlawntrustees.com.

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 Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov or Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov.

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DNREC, Habitat for Humanity Partner to Create Green Space in New Castle County’s Simonds Gardens Community

At the Simonds Gardens Rain Garden in New Castle are, left to right: Rain Garden Project Manager Andre Wilburn, Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County; New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer; Simonds Gardens Civic Association President Jaywann Saunders; Jaywanna Saunders and Rob Butler, Simonds Gardens Civic Association; HFHNCC CEO Kevin Smith; and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. DNREC photo.

 

On July 5, representatives from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County (HFHNCC), New Castle County and the community of Simonds Gardens gathered to celebrate the completion of a project that transformed a vacant lot into an oasis of green in the city. Highlighting the new rain garden were DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin, HFHNCC CEO Kevin Smith, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer and Jaywann Saunders of the Simonds Gardens Civic Association.

A week and a half before, on June 25, Habitat hosted a “Rock the Block” event in which volunteers from DNREC and HFH joined community members on the New Castle County-owned 50’x80’ lot to plant a rain garden and install new park benches to invite residents to sit and enjoy the newly-created green space. The project was also supported by a community grant from DNREC and the lot was provided by New Castle County.

“DNREC has a strong commitment to ensuring that all Delawareans, especially those in underserved areas, have equal access to green spaces where residents of all ages can enjoy being outdoors,” said Secretary Garvin. “Rain gardens not only allow the growth of green spaces without the need for watering or regular maintenance, they absorb excess water and can reduce flash flooding, which is especially important in city communities like Simonds Gardens with predominately impervious surfaces.”

“We’re thrilled with the impact Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County has made in the Simonds Gardens neighborhood, and we’re excited to be a partner in this new venture,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “Positive outcomes will occur when we put our collective minds and hearts together for our communities.”

“From helping Habitat for Humanity with brownfield remediation on 52 homes in Wilmington, to now assisting with an environmental beautification project in Simonds Gardens, DNREC has been an outstanding partner with us helping us improve the lives of families and communities through housing and neighborhood engagement activities,” said Kevin L. Smith, CEO, Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County.

“On behalf of the Simonds Gardens Civic Association, we would like to thank Habitat for another successful project and great partnership over the years and for helping us change our community for the better good,” said Jaywann Saunders, president of the Simonds Garden Civic Association.

Last year, DNREC awarded the Simonds Gardens community a $25,000 Community Environmental Project Fund (CEPF) grant that supported Habitat’s Rock the Block events, as well as home energy efficiency toolkits and education. The CEPF grant program was created by the Delaware General Assembly in 2004 to fund restoration projects in communities impacted by environmental pollution. Grant funding is available to affected communities for projects that result in reduced pollution, enhanced natural resources and enhanced recreational opportunities. More information is available at de.gov/cepf.

The Simonds Gardens Rock the Block event is HFHNCC’s sixth neighborhood revitalization event since July 2021, with more scheduled across Wilmington this fall and in the spring of 2023. Sponsorships and grants are needed to fund the growing need to transform Wilmington communities, one block at a time, one park at a time.

Habitat for Humanity NCC is seeking volunteers for upcoming Rock the Block events. For more information, contact Andre Wilburn at awilburn@habitatncc.org and register as a volunteer at www.habitatncc.org/volunteer.

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. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

About Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County
Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County (HFHNCC) celebrates 35 years of impact in 2021. To date, HFHNCC has built 256 homes and served over 600 families. Committed to changing lives and landscapes, HFHNCC provides affordable housing solutions for hard working, low-income families. Habitat engages residents in improving their neighborhoods, provides free critical home repairs to preserve existing homeownership, conducts financial literacy and home maintenance education for families in our homeownership program and builds affordable housing.

Media Contacts: DNREC, Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Habitat for Humanity NCC, Kathi Barber, KBarber@habitatncc.org