DuPont Nature Center to reopen April 1

Volunteers sought for spring cleanup day March 14

DOVER, Del. – The DuPont Nature Center at Mispillion Harbor Reserve, a DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife facility located in the heart of Delaware’s Bayshore Region and a popular family and school tour destination, will reopen for the 2020 season Wednesday, April 1. The center will be open in April from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. The center’s 2020 schedule through September can be found on the Division of Fish & Wildlife website.

Prior to reopening, the DuPont Nature Center will hold a volunteer spring cleanup day from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, March 14. Projects include exhibit and tank set-up, planting beach grass, cleaning the center, and trash removal from surrounding grounds. Volunteers under age 18 must have a completed parental consent form, and volunteers under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information or to sign up to volunteer, contact Lynne Pusey at lynne.pusey@delaware.gov or 302-422-1329.

Located on the edge of Mispillion Harbor at the intersection of the mouths of the Mispillion River and Cedar Creek, the DuPont Nature Center at Mispillion Harbor Reserve offers a variety of interactive exhibits and educational programs. In the spring, the center’s large deck overlooking the harbor offers wildlife watchers an unparalleled view of the spectacle of spawning horseshoe crabs and migrating shorebirds, including federally-listed threatened red knots that depend on horseshoe crab eggs to help fuel their 9,000-mile journey. Indoor saltwater tanks allow a close-up look at a variety of aquatic species, from horseshoe crabs to diamondback terrapins.

The DuPont Nature Center is located at 2992 Lighthouse Road, near Slaughter Beach, east of Milford. Admission to the center is free and open to the public. For general information about the center, please call 302-422-1329 or visit the DuPont Nature Center webpage. For inquiries about the center’s programs and operations, please contact Lynne Pusey at lynne.pusey@delaware.gov or 302-422-1329.

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 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 65,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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DNREC’s DuPont Nature Center set to host programs Sept. 2 and 6 celebrating World Shorebirds Day

SLAUGHTER BEACH – The DuPont Nature Center at Mispillion Harbor Reserve, a DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife facility located in the heart of Delaware’s Bayshore Region, will host two programs Sept. 2 and 6 highlighting World Shorebirds Day, which takes place annually in September to celebrate shorebirds around the globe.

Each year on Sept. 6, World Shorebirds Day seeks to highlight the need to protect shorebirds and their habitats, raise public awareness about continued shorebird research, monitoring and conservation, and connect people with shorebirds through wetland sites around the world. DuPont Nature Center programs connecting Delaware to World Shorebirds Day are:  

  • Mispillion Harbor Shorebirds Presentation and Birding Trip, 1-3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 2. Join DuPont Nature Center educators for a presentation about the most common shorebirds that visit Mispillion Harbor and the importance of the harbor to the success of their migration. Nature Center staff will also unveil a new shorebird exhibit with carvings by local artist Harold VanDyk, whose work offers a unique portrayal of species that visit Delaware. After the carvings are unveiled, DNREC biologists will lead a shorebird trip that begins at the DuPont Nature Center and ends at Slaughter Beach. The birding trip will focus on the shorebirds currently visiting Mispillion Harbor and surrounding area.
  • Delaware Shorebirds Today, 1-2 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 6. Join DNREC Shorebird Biologist Audrey DeRose-Wilson for a presentation about the shorebirds that visit Delaware each year, identifying these species, their status, and the research conducted by the Division of Fish & Wildlife to monitor and protect these important migratory birds.   

The DuPont Nature Center is located at 2992 Lighthouse Road, near Slaughter Beach, east of Milford. Hours of operation through the end of August are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, closed Mondays. For the month of September, hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays only. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information about the center, call 302-422-1329 or visit DuPont Nature Center.

Contact: Lynne Pusey, DNREC DuPont Nature Center coordinator, 302-422-1329, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.


Restoration underway along Delaware Bayshore to repair and enhance beaches, critical wetlands and natural defenses

Projects at Mispillion Harbor, Ted Harvey Conservation Area are reducing flooding, restoring habitat, improving resiliency and protecting public safety and property

DELAWARE BAYSHORE (Sept. 12, 2016) – Restoration work has begun at Mispillion Harbor Reserve and the Ted Harvey Conservation Area on two key DNREC projects that will repair and restore beaches, critical wetlands and other natural defenses. Both Division of Fish and Wildlife projects protect and restore wildlife habitat, improve coastal resiliency and preparedness to storms, and protect public safety and property by reducing flooding to communities, while enhancing ecotourism and recreational activities along the Delaware Bayshore.

Mispillion Harbor Reserve Located near the Town of Slaughter Beach in central Kent County, Mispillion Harbor Reserve’s beach, wetlands and adjacent resources have been degraded by Hurricane Sandy and subsequent coastal storms, resulting in the significant loss of habitat for spawning horseshoe crabs and shorebirds.

The Harbor is a major stopover in the Atlantic Flyway for waterfowl and shorebirds, including the federally threatened Red Knot. The birds descend on the Harbor to feed on horseshoe crab eggs before continuing their annual migrations to their Artic breeding ground. Birders and biologists from around the world come to Mispillion Harbor to witness the annual spring spectacle. In 1986, Delaware Bay joined the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network as a Site of Hemispheric Importance due to the sheer number of shorebirds that use the Bay as a migratory stopover.

Lindstrom Excavating has begun restoration of the beach and the stone dike. Restoration of the beach includes adding 46,000 cubic yards of sand to the Harbor. The stone dike is being restored with groins which include 12,000 tons of new stone that add height and stability. The stone raises the dike to a level that will better withstand waves and wind from coastal storms, thereby reducing flooding to adjacent wetlands, improving the resiliency of the Harbor to future storms and protecting the navigational channel through Mispillion Inlet, ensuring continued commercial and recreational access to the Delaware Bay.

The project is expected to be completed in April 2017 – in time for the annual shorebird migration.

Ted Harvey Conservation Area Ted Harvey Conservation Area, along the St. Jones River near the Town of Kitts Hummock, is a large coastal impoundment that provides critical habitat for migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wildlife. The impoundment has suffered several dike breaches and subsidence over the years, and malfunctioning water control structures have resulted in flooding of more than 400 acres of habitat.

The project is restoring more than 5,000 feet of dike and replacing two malfunctioning water control structures. About 40,000 cubic yards of soil is being added to increase the average height of the existing dike by 4 feet, improving coastal resiliency and preparedness to storms. The new water control structures will allow the Division of Fish & Wildlife to effectively manage impoundment water levels for wildlife, thereby improving biodiversity and enhancing recreational activities, including waterfowl hunting.

Project contractor Zack Excavating is scheduled to start restoration this month and complete the project by October 2017. As a result, the Ted Harvey South Impoundment and south boat launch parking lot will be closed to the public beginning Sept. 26 and will reopen once the project is completed in 2017.  Therefore, the impoundment will be closed for the 2016/17 waterfowl season. Additionally, potential closings may take place for the road leading to the restoration site. Drivers should be aware of heavy truck traffic in the area and follow signs, if the road is closed.

The projects are made possible by two federal grants totaling $6.5 million awarded to DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife from the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) through Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency appropriations. Administered by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the grants have leveraged additional funding from state watershed stewardship funds, a Wildlife Sport Fish and Restoration federal grant, and Ducks Unlimited (DU). The projects are the result of close cooperation and partnerships among DNREC, the U.S. DOI, the NFWF, DU and Delaware’s Congressional Delegation of Senator Tom Carper, Senator Chris Coons, and Congressman John Carney.

For more information contact Jeremey Ashe, Habitat Restoration project manager, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Jeremey.Ashe@delaware.gov or 302-735-3601 or visit the Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DelawareFishWildlife

This project is part of DNREC’s Bayshore Initiative, a landscape approach to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat, increase volunteer participation in habitat stewardship projects, enhance low-impact outdoor recreation and ecotourism opportunities, and promote associated environmentally compatible economic development. In 2011, the Delaware National Bayshore plan received national recognition as one of two Delaware projects included in a 50-state report from the U.S. Department of the Interior outlining some of the country’s most promising ways to reconnect Americans to the natural world.

Contact: Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, Melanie.Rapp@delaware.gov, 302-739-9902
Vol. 46, No. 333