New Limits Set for Beaches at Delaware State Parks Starting This Weekend

Two Park Lifeguards Test Positive for COVID-19

In accordance with Gov. Carney’s goal of limiting interactions among people in Delaware’s beach areas to reduce transmission of COVID-19, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced the following restrictions to be imposed starting on Friday, July 3 and lasting until further notice:

  • The number of vehicles allowed in Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island State Parks will be limited to approximately 60% of the parking capacity. When the 60% capacity is reached, all vehicles will be turned away until vehicle volume within the parks is reduced. Vehicle restrictions may be lifted periodically as volume levels are noticeably reduced within the parks. These limits, which will be enforced at park entrances by DNREC Natural Resources Police, will not be managed based on a “one-in, one-out” policy that would encourage lines of waiting vehicles and people.
  • At Cape Henlopen, when the main gate is closed to additional vehicles based on parking lot capacity, the closure will include vehicles that have arrived at the park for drive-on surf fishing as well.
  • At Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island surf fishing beaches, NRP officers will monitor the number of vehicles on the beach and will close drive-on beach entrances if vehicles fail to maintain the 20-foot distance between vehicles currently mandated by the Governor’s emergency order.
  • Masks or face coverings are required in bathhouse and concession areas at all three parks and strongly encouraged on the beach as well.
  • Campgrounds and cabin rentals will continue.

“Last weekend, we saw all our ocean parks go to capacity, we saw a number of people not wearing masks in bathhouse and concession areas where they were around others, and we saw groupings of people and activities on our beaches, including in surf fishing areas, that clearly violated the requirements of social distancing,” DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said. “This limit on visitors to our beach parks is another measure to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.”

DNREC also reported Tuesday that two of its Delaware State Parks beach lifeguards have tested positive for COVID-19 and are now isolating at home. DNREC is working closely with the Division of Public Health to notify any other employees or individuals who may have had close contact with the affected lifeguards. Our lifeguards perform a crucial role in protecting visitors at our beaches at Delaware State Parks. DNREC continues to follow recommended best practices to minimize health risks to park-goers and our Beach Patrol team, including a strict cleaning protocol for public spaces and sanitizing of staff workstations.

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 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 DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov

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DNREC opens virtual operations for water-related services

Permit applications and licenses expedited by online transactions

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control continues pivoting to virtual operations both during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future for greater efficiencies and ease of use for DNREC customers and constituents. The latest advance for DNREC’s ePermitting comes from the Division of Water and covers a spectrum of permit applications and license payments.

The new process is part of the continuing effort to keep DNREC staff and customers safe during the pandemic while providing consistent business practices, and in this case also enhancing the Department’s water-related transactions. Until now almost all permit applications and license forms from the Division of Water required hardcopy submissions, with payment by check or cash.

Online submission and payment can now be made via the ePermitting system for the following services:

Professional License Renewals:

  • Well driller
  • Liquid waste hauler
  • Wastewater operator

Water Supply

  • Water allocation permits
  • Well permits (use existing application)

Wastewater

  • Septic permits
  • Site evaluation
  • Septic inspections
  • Septic system repair/Component replacement
  • Authorization to use existing system
  • Holding tanks (New/replacement/repair for private systems)
  • Septic site waiver request

Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands

  • Letters of authorization and Statewide Activity Approvals (SAA)
  • New permits or leases
  • Supplemental approval for lease/permit
  • Jurisdictional determination requests
  • Water quality certification
  • Wetlands permits

“The COVID-19 pandemic expedited our efforts and to roll out ePermitting developments such as well drilling licenses and other water permitting and licensing, which state staff from DNREC and the Department of Technology and Information implemented in a matter of weeks,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Contractors and constituents doing business with our Division of Water have asked for this option since online transactions became a part of State of Delaware business, and we are happy to provide it, especially at this time.”

Many DNREC services are available online, including hunting and fishing permits, sales of park passes and wildlife are conservation access passes (though state park and wildlife area fees and passes are currently waived until further notice), hunter education classes and plenty of virtual content. Public hearings and public meetings are also occurring virtually as well.

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 DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media contact: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov or Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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DNREC state parks, wildlife area visitors must bring masks starting Friday

DOVER, Del. – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced that starting Friday those aged 13 or older are now required to bring a face mask with them to enter state parks, wildlife areas and reserves, and should wear them when they cannot maintain social distancing from other visitors. Those who do not bring face masks when visiting these areas may be required to leave by officers or staff.

This decision is in accordance with Governor John Carney’s thirteenth modification to his State of Emergency declaration, which requires Delawareans to wear face coverings in public settings. Visitors to DNREC parks and areas must wear a face covering where social distancing is difficult, such as on boat ramps, narrow trails, and when they encounter anyone not in their household including other visitors and staff. Masks are required at all times at the Ommelanden shooting range.

“In order to keep our outdoor public spaces for all members of the public to enjoy, visitors to state parks, wildlife areas and reserves must heed social distancing and mask requirements,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “We need our visitors to do their part to help keep these areas safe for everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Visitors are also asked to be mindful of the length and frequency of their visits, and to avoid peak times. The safest way to enjoy state parks is sparingly, as needed, and during off-peak times: before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. daily.

While most state parks, wildlife areas and reserves continue to stay open for Delawareans during the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” emergency order from Governor John Carney, DNREC has a few guidelines for visitors to stay safe:

  • Bring a mask and wear it when needed. Parks and wildlife areas are becoming increasingly crowded as the weather warms so it is now required to have a mask to put on when you are near others not from your home.
  • Plan ahead. Many amenities are closed, including all public restrooms.
  • Be prepared. Bring your own soap, water and hand sanitizer with you.
  • Stay close to home. This period is not the time to travel for outdoor adventure. Out-of-state visitors must observe a 14-day quarantine before entering a park, wildlife area or reserve.
  • Keep your group small. Make sure to enjoy the outdoors with your immediate household members only. You should not attend or host any gatherings like barbeques or birthday parties.
  • Avoid close contact activities. Instead, choose outdoor recreation like fishing, hiking or bike riding.
  • Practice social distancing. Keep six feet between you and others. Warn others of your presence and give them enough space to pass on boat ramps, paths and trails. Leave at least one parking space between your vehicle and the vehicle next to you. Areas may be closed if it is determined based on observation of parking lots or groupings of people that lack of responsible social distancing has become an issue.
  • Leave no trace. Even during normal operations, parks are carry-in/carry-out with regards to trash. Trash you take into the park or area, including disposable gloves and masks, you must take with you. Our staff resources are limited, and we need your help collecting trash.
  • If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t visit our parks, wildlife areas or reserves if you or any member of your household is not feeling well.

Any failure to comply with the provisions contained in a Declaration of a State of Emergency or any modification to a Declaration of the State of Emergency can constitute a criminal offense.

Anyone concerned about an individual or group in any state park or wildlife area may contact DNREC’s Natural Resources Police via Tip411, DNREC’s smartphone app, or by calling the 24-hour DNREC Dispatch Center at 302-739-4580. Tip411 allows the public to easily report concerns. The app is available for free download by searching DENRP via the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store.

For the latest information on COVID-19 in Delaware, visit de.gov/coronavirus.

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 DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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Records Pond dam and fishing piers closing March 2

Closure for dam reconstruction will last until spring 2021

DOVER, Del. – The dam and associated fishing access areas at Records Pond in Laurel will be closed to public use during reconstruction of the dam from March 2 until the spring of 2021, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announced today.

Dam reconstruction is being coordinated by the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT. More information about the project can be found on the DelDOT website.

The closures include Willow Street, which crosses the Records Pond dam, and all facilities located adjacent to the dam, including fishing piers, parking lots, and adjacent shoreline fishing access.

The Records Pond boat ramp, which is located on Route 13 a half mile away from the dam, will remain open. However, boaters are advised to keep clear of the dam construction area. Boaters should also be aware that the pond water level is expected to be lowered during dam construction, which could affect boat launching and use.

For more information on the Records Pond dam and piers closure, please call the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.

Follow the Division of Fish & Wildlife on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/DelawareFishWildlife.

Media Contact: Joanna Wilson, Joanna.wilson@delaware.gov

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Smyrna man arrested on drug charges

DOVER, Del. – A Smyrna man was arrested Feb. 25 on drug charges following a traffic stop and vehicle search in Dover conducted by the Delaware Natural Resources Police – Environmental Crimes Unit, in which officers seized as evidence 322 grams of marijuana, 66 Xanax pills, $1,225 in cash, a digital scale, and drug packaging materials.

Andrew Burns, 23, was charged with one count of each of the following:

  • Andrew Burns
    Andrew Burns

    Manufacture/deliver/possession with intent to deliver controlled substance Tier 2 quantity

  • Manufacture/deliver/possession with intent to deliver controlled substance
  • Possession of controlled substance Tier 2 quantity
  • Possession of controlled substance Tier 1 quantity
  • Conspiracy second degree – agreement to engage in felony criminal conduct
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia not related to personal use quantity marijuana
  • Failure to have insurance identification in possession
  • Operation of an unregistered motor vehicle
  • Display of license plate
  • Unsafe passing on the left
  • Duty to sign and carry driver’s license

Burns was arraigned via video phone in Justice of the Peace Court 2 and released on his own recognizance, pending a court date.

Delawareans are encouraged to report environmental violations to DNREC’s Natural Resources Police Environmental Crimes Unit by calling the 24-hour environmental complaints line at 800-662-8802.

Media Contact: Joanna Wilson, Joanna.wilson@delaware.gov