DNREC, Division of Public Health Offer Tips About Ticks

An adult lone star tick in central Delaware. DNREC photo.

 

With spring heading into summer – prime time for ticks as well as for people getting outdoors – the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has partnered with the Division of Public Health within the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) to educate the public about ticks, including where they are found, how to identify different types and what precautions to take before and after exposure to ticks, as well as information about tick-borne pathogens.

“Summer in Delaware is a great time to be outdoors enjoying Delaware’s state parks, wildlife areas, trails and waters,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “However, time-honored summer activities like hiking, biking, fishing and even beachgoing and gardening can expose outdoor enthusiasts to unwanted guests – ticks. The good news is residents and visitors can take steps such as using repellent, wearing light-colored clothes and checking for ticks after being outdoors to reduce or prevent the chances of getting tick bites.”

“We encourage Delawareans to get outside to enjoy fitness and family time,” said DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik. “But we also urge people to take the proper precautions to protect themselves and others because tick bites can cause serious illness. In Delaware, the most common tick-borne illness is Lyme disease. Symptoms can include a ‘bull’s-eye’ rash (seen in approximately half of Lyme disease cases in Delaware), fever, fatigue, headache, and muscle and joint aches. Chronic joint, heart, and neurological problems may occur. We urge anyone bitten by a tick to monitor their health closely, and contact a physician if symptoms develop.”

Precautions to avoid or reduce tick exposure include:

  • Keep grass short and remove brush from the yard to reduce tick habitat.

    Long pants tucked into socks can help prevent tick exposure. DNREC photo.
    Long pants tucked into socks can help prevent tick exposure. DNREC photo.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants tucked into socks and use repellent to help keep ticks off in areas with high tick populations.
  • Choose light colored clothing to make ticks easier to see.
  • When returning from outdoor activities, check for ticks and remove any from skin with tweezers as soon as possible to reduce the chance of disease transmission.
  • Following exposure to tick-prone areas or tick bites, watch for symptoms of common illnesses caused by tick-borne pathogens and seek medical attention as needed.

The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife and the DHSS Division of Public Health work together year-round to study tick populations, species distribution, seasonality and disease risk to humans, including Lyme disease. The goal of the tick program is to better understand the biology and ecology of Delaware ticks and the problems they cause, including how to best cope with those problems.

Dr. Ashley Kennedy, DNREC Tick Program entomologist. DNREC photo.
Dr. Ashley Kennedy, DNREC Tick Program entomologist. DNREC photo.

For DNREC Tick Program entomologist Dr. Ashley Kennedy, part of that work includes statewide tick surveys to collect and identify types of ticks.

“Tick surveys provide information about the numbers and species of ticks found in Delaware, as well as information about tick-borne diseases, since certain diseases are associated with certain tick species,” said Dr. Kennedy. “Knowing what species of tick has attached to you, a family member, or a pet will help determine whether you may be at risk for a tick-borne disease.”

To help Delaware residents and visitors exposed to ticks, DNREC has launched a new online tick interactions form that asks when and where the interaction took place, contact information and a photo of the tick if available to help identify its species.

Read more about Dr. Kennedy’s work in “Tick-Tock – the Ticks Are Waiting” in Outdoor Delaware online magazine.

Other tick facts include:

  • In Delaware, ticks are everywhere, but most bites occur in backyards.
  • Ticks do not jump or fall out of trees; they wait on grass or other plants for a host to walk by so they can grab on.
  • Ticks are active year-round, not just in late spring/early summer which is prime “tick season.”
  • Several different types of ticks are found in Delaware, and several types can carry different pathogens that can infect humans including Lyme disease.

More information about ticks can be found at de.gov/ticks and de.gov/lyme.

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 Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. 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 Names Two to Leadership Roles

DNREC Division of Water Director Steven Smailer.

 

 

New Director for The Division of Water, Chief of Staff Within DNREC’s Office of The Secretary

Secretary Shawn M. Garvin announced changes today to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s leadership structure, selecting Steven Smailer as new director of DNREC’s Division of Water and naming Kim Siegel as chief of staff within DNREC’s Office of the Secretary.

Smailer succeeds environmental scientist and wetland and stream restoration expert Virgil Holmes, who retired from DNREC after two stints with the Department totaling 15 years, including the last seven years leading the Division of Water. Smailer, a hydrogeologist, worked as an environmental program administrator in the division. He originally came into the Department and the then-Division of Water Resources in the early 1990s, then worked as a hydrogeologist for an extended period in the private sector, before returning to DNREC in 2015 as manager of the Division of Water’s Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands Section.

“Steve’s breadth of knowledge covering water resources top to bottom is unmatched,” said Secretary Garvin. “He has long been seen by peers as having a ‘most versatile player’ role for overseeing many aspects of Delaware’s most precious natural resource, our water. As the Department begins to implement Governor Carney’s Clean Water for Delaware Initiative, there couldn’t be a better choice to lead our Division of Water.”

Smailer is a Delaware-licensed professional geologist, Secretary of the Delaware Board of Geologists, a Groundwater Protection Council National Board Member, and has served as the chair of the State’s Water Supply Coordinating Council since 2017.
He is a Pennsylvania State University graduate with degrees in Earth Science/Geology and Marine Science. Smailer lives in Rehoboth Beach with his wife Laurie and their three children.

DNREC Chief of Staff Kim Siegel.
DNREC Chief of Staff Kim Siegel.

As chief of staff, Ms. Siegel succeeds Gregory Patterson who earlier this year moved to the Office of the Governor as the state’s infrastructure implementation coordinator to manage funding received by the State of Delaware through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“We’re excited to add Kim to the team whose knowledge of the legislative process and public policy experience will help us tackle Delaware’s environmental priorities across a range of issues, including air quality, clean water, climate change, wildlife protections and more,” said Secretary Garvin.

Siegel arrives at DNREC with 20 years of experience in state government and nonprofits. She most recently was the assistant director of government relations and advocacy at Mental Health Partnerships in Philadelphia, overseeing workforce development and individual advocacy programs and monitoring state legislative activity.

Prior to that, she was the FOIA coordinator and legislative affairs manager at the Delaware Department of Justice and the research director to then-Lt. Gov. Matt Denn.

Until 2014, Siegel served in several roles at Autism Delaware where she led a successful campaign to get insurance coverage for autism therapies and launched the Walk for Autism in Bellevue and Cape Henlopen State Parks. She has also worked for NAMI Delaware and was a legislative fellow in the General Assembly.

Siegel received her Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Delaware with a service term in the AmeriCorps program Public Allies between them. She currently resides in the city of Wilmington.

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

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US Wind and Ørsted Conducting Offshore Wind Research

Companies Updating Data for Maryland-Approved Projects

Visitors to Delaware Seashore State Park will see an increase in activity in the coming months as US Wind and Ørsted, two offshore wind energy development companies, conduct research and collect data to determine the best path forward for their wind projects.

Both companies plan to update and refresh information collected in the Indian River Bay in 2016 and 2017, and to conduct geotechnical work in the Atlantic and at some land-based locations.

In 2017, the Maryland Public Service Commission awarded US Wind Offshore Renewable Energy Credits (ORECs) for the construction of a roughly 248 megawatt (MW) offshore wind project. A second 808.5 MW project received approval in December 2021.

Ørsted has also received approval from Maryland’s PSC for two projects: Skipjack Wind 1, a 120 MW project, and Skipjack 2, an 846 MW wind project. All four projects are proposed to be built in wind energy areas off the Delaware and Maryland coasts.

“Any project of this scope requires an extensive regulatory process, as well as considerable public input. Gathering the information is the first step,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.

In 2019, Ørsted researched the possibility of using Fenwick Island State Park as a location for an interconnection facility. It was later determined that the location was not environmentally feasible.

“We’ve heard the feedback of Delawareans who told us they want to be updated on offshore wind activities, including research. We want to ensure the public is aware of these activities and what the research entails,” Garvin said.

The research will include geotechnical investigations in the Atlantic and Indian River Bay, land-based geotechnical sampling at Delaware Seashore State Park and other work including data collection on wetlands, rare species and cultural resources.

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; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov


DNREC, DEMA Sponsor Delaware Flood Awareness Week

Flooding such as occurred in Delaware during Hurricane Sandy is becoming a bigger threat to country’s lowest-lying state.

 

Interactive Quiz, Flood Insurance Webinar and Social Media
Campaign Highlight Daily Flood-Related Themes from May 9 to 13

Governor John Carney has proclaimed May 9 through 13 Delaware Flood Awareness Week to inform residents about flood risk, likelihood of flooding from extreme weather events brought on by climate change, the importance of having a flood insurance policy, and flood remediation for property damage or loss. “Every Delawarean should make sure that they are prepared for unexpected flood events,” said Governor Carney. “Flood Awareness Week allows for federal, state and local emergency agencies to increase public awareness of flood risks. Explore the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s resources to make sure that you’re prepared.”

Throughout next week DNREC and the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) will highlight numerous resources for flood awareness in Delaware, to include an interactive quiz, webinar and floodplain mapping tool.

“Delaware is the lowest-lying state and has the lowest average land elevation in the country – we are already susceptible to flooding and becoming more at risk from sea level rise,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “With climate change spawning more extreme weather events, including hurricanes and tornadoes, flooding is an issue that we must confront with greater urgency. It’s imperative to get word out on flooding and flood risk management.”

“Delaware is experiencing significant flooding with increasing frequency in areas that have not previously experienced flood events. We encourage residents to be proactive to understand how flooding could affect them and take the appropriate precautions to protect their property and families,” said Department of Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Nathaniel McQueen Jr.

Much of the impetus behind Delaware Flood Awareness Week is helping the public become better informed about flood insurance, which provides policy holders with financial security and ensures quick recovery of personal property from flood damage. Delawareans can learn how much they know with a new interactive online flood quiz, available on Monday, May 9 from @DelawareDNREC social media pages. The quiz and much more information about flood awareness also can be found at de.gov/floodrisk.

Much of the focus for Flood Awareness Week is on the tools and resources available to help Delawareans understand flood risk and be proactive addressing it on a personal property level. DNREC and DEMA staff will be on hand virtually and via social media during the week to explain flood insurance issues, to help residents access a flood insurance policy, and to advise on mitigation assistance resources in Delaware.

On Tuesday, May 10, DNREC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will host a flood insurance virtual open house, with two hour-long discussions, in the morning from 10 to 11 a.m. and an evening session from 6 to 7 p.m. The open house offers expert commentary from the state and federal level, and the private sector on flood insurance and Risk Rating 2.0, the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) new risk rating and pricing methodology. At the end of each open house, the panel will address general questions from attendees via Zoom chat. More information, including Zoom registration, can be found at de.gov/floodrisk.

DNREC’s Floodplain Management program will drive more flood insurance and flood awareness outreach later this month, with a DART bus traveling Sussex County routes outfitted with a graphic depiction of a flooded Delaware community under the heading “FLOODS. Are You Prepared?”

The Wednesday, May 11 theme “Flood Safety” is highlighted by more social media and outreach from DEMA, carrying messages such as “Flooding Can Be Dangerous” and, particularly in Delaware, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” when encountering flooded roadways – a typical passenger vehicle can be swept away toward a tragic outcome by as little as 12 inches of onrushing water.

The flood awareness theme for Thursday, May 12 is “Know Your Flood Risk,” with a goal of encouraging Delawareans to research flood risk for their property. DNREC supports this effort by providing the Delaware Flood Planning Tool app, which can be found at de.gov/floodplanning. DNREC’s social media awareness message for the day is “Anywhere it rains, it can flood. Know your flood risk. Use the Delaware Flood Planning Tool to view other flood risk information for your property.”

For the Friday, May 13, and the flood awareness theme of “Remediation and Mitigation,” DEMA will turn to social media for explaining how actions taken now can reduce Delaware’s vulnerability to future disasters – how, on average, $1 spent on hazard mitigation provides Delawareans $4 in future benefits. The theme extends to helping Delawareans understand the benefits of mitigating at the local level, including how they can apply for mitigation grants through their local communities.

The finale for flood awareness week outreach efforts is a bonus for the next generation of Delaware property owners. DNREC’s Floodplain Management Program will unveil a working model of a floodplain Saturday, May 14 at the DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship’s “Water Family Fest” at the James Farm Ecological Reserve that helps young people understand flooding and its impacts. The Enviroscape tabletop is a hands-on way to demonstrate flooding and floodplain management concepts – along with showing how flooding on the floodplain can be caused by unplanned development, and the role wetlands play in helping mitigate flooding impacts.

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.

About DEMA
The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), a division within the Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS), is the lead state agency for coordination of comprehensive emergency preparedness, training, response, recovery and mitigation services in order to save lives, protect Delaware’s economic base and reduce the impact of emergencies. For more information, visit the website and connect with DEMA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: DNREC: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; DEMA: Paige Fitzgerald, paige.fitzgerald@delaware.gov

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DNREC’s Monitoring Shows Overall Good Air Quality in Delaware

DNREC air quality monitoring station in Wilmington. DNREC photo.

 

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control maintains a network of 11 permanent air monitoring sites throughout the state to track pollutants that impact Delaware’s air quality. For National Air Quality Awareness Week, DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin today visited the air monitoring station at MLK Jr. Boulevard in Wilmington, the most comprehensive monitoring station in the state.

DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin is given air monitoring data from a Division of Air Quality staff member
DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin is given air monitoring data from a Division of Air Quality staff member, Jana Pezanowski. DNREC photo.

“Part of DNREC’s mission is to ensure clean air for all Delawareans. Clean air is especially important for our most vulnerable populations: children, older people, and people living with health conditions,” said Secretary Garvin. “Our monitoring network data shows our air quality is good overall, but good is not good enough. DNREC is committed to working continuously to make our air quality better.”

The air today is cleaner than when EPA first implemented control measures, known as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), under the Clean Air Act in the early 1970s. The MLK station, for example, monitors the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s six pollutants of greatest concern under the NAAQS: ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and two sizes of particulate matter.

The station also utilizes the latest technologies for real-time monitoring of the weather, including wind speed and direction, humidity, temperature, pressure ultraviolet and solar radiation, cloud height and rain gauge, all of which are factors in air quality.

The DNREC Division of Air Quality, which maintains and operates the station, encourages residents to learn about important air quality resources. Delawareans can consult the Air Quality Index (AQI) to plan their outdoor activities to protect their health from air pollution. This online resource from the EPA monitors and reports on air quality each day.

In Delaware, air quality is rated as “good” for most days of the year. However, there are days when local air quality can pose health risks to sensitive populations, and the AQI offers up-to-the-minute data on when and where such days might be occur. Visit de.gov/airmonitoring to sign up for air quality email alerts.

More information about Delaware’s air quality and DNREC’s monitoring work can be found at de.gov/airmonitoring.

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 Air Quality monitors and regulates all emissions to the air. 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