DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal & Energy seeks applicants for new NOAA estuary research fellowship

A researcher, research intern, and scholar conduct sediment core sampling in the salt marsh at the St. Jones Estuary in Dover. DNREC staff photo.

DOVER – The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, administered through DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal & Energy, is seeking applicants for a new two-year fellowship sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which shares oversight with DNREC for the state’s estuarine reserves on the St. Jones River near Dover and Blackbird Creek in Townsend.

“We are excited to be collaborating with NOAA in offering this new graduate fellowship opportunity,” said Kimberly Cole, Environmental Program administrator with DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal & Energy. “Fellows will select and work to address a key coastal management question in an effort to help DNREC scientists and coastal communities understand challenges that may influence policy and management strategies.”

NOAA’s Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship program provides students the opportunity to conduct collaborative research projects focused on the nation’s estuaries. Melissa Ladd, NOAA’s national coordinator of the program, said what makes the fellowship program exceptional is that focus. “We are dedicated to research that gives our communities the facts needed to make wise decisions when it comes to deciding how coastal resources are used and managed,” Ladd said. “This program also provides students with the experiences and professional growth skills that will serve them, and our environment, throughout their careers.”

The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) is one of 29 reserves in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, with the state’s two components, the St. Jones Reserve and the Blackbird Creek Reserve, focused on practicing and promoting coastal and estuarine stewardship through innovative research and education, using a system of protected areas.

Each of the national reserves in the system will host a fellowship program. These sites combine to protect 1.3 million estuarine acres, and are home to some of the nation’s most progressive science and educational programs. Each reserve designates its research priorities, from habitat changes to water quality and more.

Interested graduate students should work with their university or college faculty advisor to submit applications by Dec. 20, 2019. To apply, or for additional details and research priorities, visit NOAA’s fellowship website. For more information, please email OCM.DavidsonFellowship@noaa.gov.

For more DNREC information, visit Delaware Coastal Management Program or Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 49, No. 216

Governor’s Office seeks nominees for Delaware’s appointed seat on the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council

DOVER – The Office of Governor John Carney is seeking candidates to be nominated for Delaware’s Obligatory Seat on the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (MAFMC). To be eligible for consideration as a nominee by the Governor for selection to the MAFMC seat by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), individuals must be Delaware residents and must complete and submit a nomination application kit outlining their fisheries background, experience, and ability to serve as a council member.

The MAFMC is responsible for managing fisheries in Mid-Atlantic federal waters extending from three to 200 miles offshore from New York through North Carolina. MAFMC members must be prepared to attend six MAFMC meetings a year during a three-year term, with each meeting typically lasting four days. Council members are compensated by the MAFMC for all travel expenses for transportation, hotel and meals, and receive a stipend of $483.52 per meeting day.

According to NOAA’s website, nominees’ eligibility for the position is based, in part, on their occupation or other related experience, scientific expertise, or training, and they must be knowledgeable and experienced in one or more of the following areas related to the fishery resources within Mid-Atlantic federal waters:

  • Commercial fishing, aquaculture, or the processing or marketing of fish, fish products, or fishing equipment;
  • Fishing for pleasure, relaxation, or consumption, or experience in any business supporting fishing;
  • Leadership in a state, regional, or national organization whose members participate in a fishery in the Council’s area of authority;
  • The management and conservation of natural resources, including related interactions with industry, government bodies, academic institutions, and public agencies;
  • Representing consumers of fish or fish products through participation in local, state, or national organizations, or performing other activities specifically related to the education or protection of consumers of marine resources; or
  • Teaching, journalism, writing, consulting, practicing law, or researching matters related to fisheries, fishery management, and marine resource conservation.

Applications should be submitted to DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Fisheries Section by March 6, 2019. For a nomination application kit, please contact the Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.

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

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 49, No. 29

Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve celebrates 20th anniversary

DELAWARE NATIONAL ESTUARINE RESEARCH RESERVE (Sept. 28, 2013) – In celebration of the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve’s 20th anniversary, DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara and Delaware Coastal Programs Administrator Sarah W. Cooksey welcomed environmental partners and guests to the Arts in the Estuary event at the St. Jones Reserve. Today’s event showcased the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) and the federal/state partnership in advancing Delaware’s coastal and estuarine conservation, research and education.

“The Delaware Reserve serves as a living laboratory and classroom – providing scientific information and supporting environmental education for thousands of school children and adults,” said Governor Jack Markell. “Congratulations on advancing a better understanding of Delaware’s coastal and estuarine resources and reaching this 20 year milestone.” 

“For the past two decades, the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve has undertaken extensive research, outreach and restoration efforts and has addressed some of Delaware’s most important and challenging coastal and estuarine issues, including our resiliency to sea level rise,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “We appreciate our strong federal partnership with NOAA and our Congressional Delegation and thank them for their support of the Reserve and the valuable work underway here that provides scientific information for local decision-making and the wise management of our communities and furthers public understanding of Delaware’s coastal and estuarine ecosystems.”

Delaware’s diverse range of habitats makes it an ideal location for a National Estuarine Research Reserve. In order to capture this diversity, in the early 1990s, two sites were nominated by then-Governor Michael Castle to create the Reserve, and in 1993, following the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s approval of a submitted management plan, DNERR became the 22nd Reserve in the National Estuarine Research Reserve system. The DNERR would be run as a federal/state partnership between NOAA and DNREC and includes parcels of land held by private landowners, as well as parcels owned by the State of Delaware.

 “With Delaware playing a vital role in coastal ecology – serving as a rest stop for millions of migrating birds – I have been a long supporter of wetland conservation,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “I applaud the hard work that the staff at the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve have done in its 20 years, and look forward to the Reserve reaching many more milestones.”

“The committed environmentalists of the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve play a vital role in how we protect our Delaware coastline and estuarine resources,” said Senator Coons. “I offer my sincerest congratulations to the leadership and staff for their efforts over the past 20 years as they have worked tirelessly to protect and manage natural estuarine habitats for research, education, and coastal stewardship for the people of Delaware.”

“Delaware is blessed with beautiful natural resources, including our coastal areas,” said U.S. Congressman John Carney.  “It’s a privilege and responsibility to care for these parts of our state, learn from them and protect them for future generations.  I congratulate everyone who has helped in the development of the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve over the last 20 years. Your work will continue to benefit our state for many years to come.”

“Research reserves are unique places that represent an important part of NOAA’s boots-on-the-ground effort to protect coastal resources,” says Margaret Davidson, head of NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. “Delaware is a leader in coastal management thanks in large part to the commitment demonstrated for the past 20 years at this reserve. Reserve staff work closely with local coastal communities to help make them healthier and more resilient.”

Today, DNERR’s two locations total 6,206 acres – the St. Jones Reserve with 5,119 acres, including salt marsh and open water habitats on the St. Jones River and Delaware Bay, east of Dover and the Blackbird Creek Reserve with 1,087 acres of freshwater wetlands, ponds and forest lands in Blackbird Creek near Townsend. The two components include both brackish and freshwater estuaries and represent the diverse estuarine ecosystems found throughout the entire mid-Atlantic region. Both locations feature public hiking trails and wonderful recreational and educational opportunities.

The DNERR is one of 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves protecting over 1.3 million acres of coastal and estuarine habitat across the country, whose goal is to establish, protect and manage natural estuarine and coastal habitats for research, education and stewardship. The Reserve accomplishes these goals by serving as a living laboratory to support coastal research and long-term monitoring and as a reference site for comparative studies on coastal topics, such as ecosystem dynamics and human influences on estuarine systems. In addition, the DNERR serves as a living classroom for educators, students and the public – advancing estuary literacy and providing meaningful environmental education experiences for people of all ages, including more than 2,000 school children annually. The Reserve’s stewardship efforts involve a wide range of activities, including land acquisition, habitat mapping, ecological restoration, invasive species control, biological monitoring and watershed management projects, among others.

“Thanks to the dedicated staff and volunteers who have supported the Reserve since its foundation with their expertise and countless hours of service, the DNERR has truly become a nationally renowned location for coastal education and research,” said Delaware Coastal Programs Administrator Sarah W. Cooksey. “The State of Delaware directly benefits from the important work the DNERR conducts on conserving Delaware’s coastal resources through its comprehensive research and community outreach programs. We invite everyone to visit our sites to sample some of the great coastal resources we have in our state and to learn more about what you can do to help protect them.”

Over the past several years, the DNERR has undertaken extensive research and monitoring to address estuarine and coastal issues, including studies on changes to coastal marshes, their restoration and the potential impacts of sea level rise. One important study is investigating how much sediment has been collected on the marsh surface over long periods of time, known as accretion. Understanding the accretion of a coastal marsh is an important part of predicting its future conditions and may assist scientists and local communities in determining how well Delaware’s marshes will adapt to sea level rise or handle flooding from coastal storms. The results of the long-term wetland study will be interpreted by the Reserve’s scientists and shared with local resource managers and members of communities bordering the wetland areas.

The DNERR holds workshops, trainings and events that educate and engage communities, nonprofit organizations and state agency employee on how to better protect coastal areas through its Coastal Training Program. These events share the latest research from national and local studies, including research completed by Reserve scientists that can help them make better and more informed decisions about managing our state’s coastal resources. The Coastal Training Program often partners with other agencies, universities and organizations to offer these in a way that best fits the training needs of the participants. One recent workshop, held with the Delaware Sea Grant, provided community leaders with skills on how to prepare their communities for adapting to the impacts of climate change, such as potential threats from extreme weather, sea level rise and warmer temperatures.

DNERR passes on the information that it collects through the integration of education, research and stewardship so that Delaware residents of all ages can make wiser decisions about how we treat our coastal areas in the future.

The public is invited to visit the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve – St. Jones Reserve and Blackbird Creek Reserve – to enjoy the beauty of our coastal areas and learn more about the research studies underway by Reserve scientists. For more information on DNERR and its programs available to you, contact Kimberly Cole, Reserve manager at 302-739-6377 or visit http://de.gov/dnerr

Contact:  Kimberly Cole, DNERR Manager, 302-739-6377; or Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

Vol. 43, No. 379


2013 Coastal Management Assistance Grants awarded by DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs

DOVER (August 2, 2013) – DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs is pleased to announce the awarding of the 2013 Coastal Management Assistance Program grants, with this year’s focus on projects that involve sea level rise and SLR adaptation planning. More than $126,000 was awarded this year through funding made available to the Delaware Coastal Programs by the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

Projects eligible to receive funding during this grant cycle were those focused on advance planning for, and reducing the impacts of coastal hazards, including sea level rise adaptation.

“Given Delaware’s vulnerabilities as a low-lying coastal state, it’s absolutely critical that we prepare for more extreme storms and sea level rise,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “These communities and organizations should be commended for taking proactive steps toward sea-level rise adaptation and coastal resiliency.”

This year’s Coastal Management Assistant Program grant recipients, with a description of their projects, were:

  • The City of Delaware City received grant funding to evaluate long-term adaptation alternatives in response to sea level rise with tools developed by the Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategies Community Task Force using existing data and information, current engineering projects and community input to develop strategies to minimize risk to the city and its residents and businesses within the Dragon Run drainage area.
  • The City of Lewes received grant funding to review and assess the city’s floodplain ordinances and building codes, and to identify opportunities to improve the ordinances and codes to reduce future flood risk form coastal storms and sea level rise.
  • The Town of Bethany Beach received grant funding to purchase and install equipment necessary to provide real-time conductivity and water level monitoring in an effort to improve the town’s current salt-water intrusion monitoring program and to develop long-term contingency plans to proactively identify future conditions that could trigger remedial responses before the problems became critical.
  • The Town of Slaughter Beach received grant funding to evaluate and ascertain which structures located within town limits could be eligible for federal grants to raise the first floor elevations above flood level, compute cost estimate for construction services, and prepare applications for federal grants available to elevate the structures.
  • The Town of South Bethany received grant funding to establish an elevation base to assist in further defining protection and accommodation options for SLR adaptation strategies including conducting center line surveys along the town’s road corridors and associated bulkheads and catch basins.
  • Widener University received funding to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the legal means that may be used in managing adaptation to sea level rise to inform property owners, policymakers (both legislators and regulators), and the public as to what options are available through the identification of potential tools, review of local and state laws, and recommendation of new laws, regulations or polices. 
  • DNREC’s Tanks Management Section received funding to conduct a near-term vulnerability assessment of hazardous materials installations to assess flood and storm risks on storage tanks, process tanks and pressure vessels containing hazardous substances.

Vol. 43, No. 300

Contact: Bonnie Arvay, Delaware Coastal Programs, 302-739-9283, or Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.