UPDATE on DNREC operations in response to COVID-19

Events, including private rentals, canceled through May 15;
One-day cleaning period implemented between rentals of State Park cabins and cottages

DOVER, Del. – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control continues to focus on taking a proactive and preventative approach to keep communities and employees safe in the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, while maintaining operations and services as best as possible.

Detailed information about events, meetings and online options is available at dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/coronavirus and destateparks.com/Covid19. A few of the updates include:

  • All Department events and programs scheduled from now through May 15 have been canceled, consistent with the Governor’s state of emergency order. The cancellations include private rentals and events at Delaware State Parks sites and facilities, such as picnics, 5Ks and parties. Organizers of events are being notified directly.
  • All state parks and wildlife areas remain open and no entrance fees will be charged through April 30. Anyone visiting a park or wildlife area is encouraged to engage in responsible social distancing practices and avoid groupings of people. Annual park passes, good for the entire season, and surf fishing tags should be purchased online only or at any third-party agents instead of at park offices or in the Dover office. Purchased park passes will be mailed before April 30. Conservation access passes needed for state wildlife areas after April 30 should also be purchased only online or at any third-party agents instead of the Dover office.
  • All state park campsites, cabins, bathhouses, and cottages continue to be open at this time. There will be at least one-day break between rental periods of cabins and cottages to allow for thorough, increased cleanings between guests.
  • Public hearings will be available via phone or video conference. The public will be able to submit comments about the subject of each hearing via email, online form, or regular mail. Verbatim transcripts will be prepared by a court reporter while all exhibits entered into the hearing record will be posted on hearing-specific DNREC webpages. Specific information on how to access each hearing will be posted with individual hearing notices.
  • Sales of fishing licenses, hunting licenses, wildlife area conservation access passes and boat registrations will be online transactions only or made at any third-party vendors that remain open. The Department has provided convenient links to these resources on its homepage, available at dnrec.delaware.gov.
  • Commercial fishing license sales will continue at the Department’s main office in Dover but by appointment only. Call 302-739-9916 to make an appointment.
  • Applications and information provided for well, septic, air, water and other permits are being accepted by email, mail and phone, reducing direct interchange of documents.
  • Offices remain open, but with limited services. A limited number of staff are onsite, but many personnel are working remotely, and available by email and phone to provide technical assistance to the public, contractors, and environmental consultants on regulatory inquiries and permitting matters.

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

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.

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


DNREC announces changes to operations in response to COVID-19

Parks, wildlife areas open with no entrance fees until April 30,
but park and wildlife buildings, centers closed to public;
Fishing, hunting, boating licenses, park and conservation passes sales moved online

DOVER, Del. – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control continues to focus on taking a proactive and preventative approach to keep communities and employees safe in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, while maintaining operations and services as best as possible.

To encourage Delawareans to be active outdoors and to provide space for activity during the coronavirus period, no fees will be charged or passes required for entrance to Delaware State Parks and state wildlife areas, effective immediately until April 30.

“Times are challenging and options are few, and this is an opportunity for Delawareans to experience our amazing parks and wildlife areas, to embrace nature while we maintain social distance from each other,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Hopefully, people will enjoy them enough that they will want to keep coming back long after coronavirus has passed, so we encourage people to buy a state park or wildlife conservation area pass online to use for the rest of the season and to support park and wildlife area operations.”

  • State parks and wildlife areas are open, and no entrance fees will be charged from now until April 30. All state park campsite, cabins, bathhouses, cottages continue to be open at this time. Buildings such as park and wildlife area offices and nature centers will close after the end of the day Tuesday, and programs and tours are canceled. Anyone visiting a park or wildlife area is encouraged to engage in responsible social distancing practices, avoiding groupings of people. People can find parks and wildlife areas listed online.
  • As of Wednesday morning, sales of fishing licenses, hunting licenses conservation passes for vehicle access to wildlife areas and boat registrations will occur online only or at any third-party vendors that remain open, instead of in person at DNREC’s Dover office. Annual park passes good for the entire season and surf fishing tags should also be purchased online only or at any third-party agents instead of at park offices or in the Dover office; purchased park passes will be mailed before April 30. The Department has provided convenient links to these resources on its homepage, available at dnrec.delaware.gov.
  • Commercial fishing license sales will continue at the Department’s main office in Dover by appointment only. Call 302-739-9916 to make an appointment.
  • Applications and information provided for well, septic, air, water and other permits are being accepted by email, mail and phone, reducing direct interchange of documents.
  • Hearings for permits, regulations and appeals are being moved to phone or video for public access. Details on how to access any hearings will be posted with the official hearing notices.

Most Department-related events and programs, including tours, trainings and special events have been postponed, including the Junior Solar Sprint competition for middle-school students at Delaware Technical Community College’s Dover campus April 2, the volunteer training April 4 for the annual horseshoe crab spawning survey and the “Make a Splash” water education event for elementary students at the St. Jones Reserve April 7. Specific information about the status of any events is available on the online events calendar, parks program calendar and social media pages, Facebook and Twitter.

The Department remains open. Many office-based employees are working from home and remote locations or relocating within offices to create distance among individuals. Adjustments are being made to procedures for many parks, wildlife and field personnel to reduce interactions among employees and with the public.

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

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 Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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


2020 Delaware Fishing Guide available now

DOVER, Del. – Anglers eager to learn what fish are available to catch within or offshore Delaware, including size and quantity possession limits, will welcome the 2020 Delaware Fishing Guide. The new fishing guide is free from DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife online, at licensing agents statewide, and at DNREC’s license office at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901.

The full-color, magazine-sized guide also includes information on Delaware’s tidal and freshwater sportfishing regulations, fishing license requirements, how to obtain a Delaware Fisherman Information Network (F.I.N.) number, fishing and boating access areas, and general angling information. The guide also showcases the popular Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament and Live Release awards program.

Fishing size and possession limits and open seasons published in the fishing guide are subject to change, with changes anticipated for cobia, shark, striped bass and bluefish during the 2020 fishing season. Anglers are encouraged to check the online version of the 2020 Delaware Fishing Guide for updated, current fishing regulations.

The guide features winning photos from the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s 2019 Fishing Photo Contest. The cover profiles the first-place photo taken by Dave Tally of Camden of two anglers fishing on McColley Pond. Second place and honorable mention photos appear inside the guide.

For more information on the 2020 Delaware Fishing Guide or fishing in the First State, call the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.

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 & 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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Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: Feb. 24 – March 1

Weekly reminder: DU Greenwing Conservation Festival set for April 4

Picture of the DNREC Fish & Wildlife Police ShieldDOVER, Del. – DNREC’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources, promote boating safety, and protect the public through outreach, education and law enforcement. To help achieve public compliance with laws and regulations, officers from Feb. 24 – March 1 made 1,812 public contacts and responded to 34 complaints regarding possible violations of laws and regulations or requests to assist the public.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions

Officers issued a total of 12 citations for the following listed violations related to:

Wildlife Conservation: Possession of unlawfully taken game bird, hunting snow goose without required conservation order season permit, possession of prohibited lead shot while hunting migratory waterfowl, possession of prohibited lead shot size while hunting migratory waterfowl, wanton waste of a game animal, and hunting illegally on Sunday.

Other: Operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area*, conspiracy 3rd, theft under $1,500, and selling stolen property under $1,500.
*Includes citation(s) issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.

The majority of anglers, hunters, and boaters comply with Delaware’s fishing, hunting, and boating laws and regulations. The public can report fish, wildlife, and boating violations to the Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police by calling 302-739-4580 or using the free smartphone DENRP Tip app from the Google Play Store or iTunes App Store. Wildlife violations can be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030, going online to de.gov/ogt, or with the DENRP Tip app; Verizon customers can connect to Operation Game Theft directly by dialing #OGT.

Are you AWARE?
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers and other Division of Fish & Wildlife staff will be attending the Ducks Unlimited Greenwing Conservation Festival on April 4 at Fish & Wildlife’s Owens Station complex near Greenwood. The Division will feature numerous displays and activities, including the Operation Game Theft trailer; a marine patrol vessel; an archery trailer; hunter education, youth Sport Fishing Tournament, and waterfowl and trout stamp displays; “Take-A-Kid Fishing” casting activities; and a K-9 demonstration. New this year is a turkey checking station where youth hunters can register wild turkeys harvested from offsite locations during the April 4 Youth Turkey Hunting Day. For more information, click Greenwing Conservation Festival. Mark your calendar.

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 & 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: Sgt. Brooke Mitchell, brooke.mitchell@delaware.gov

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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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