DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation to host photography workshop at the Grass Dale Center in Delaware City

Annabelle Fichtner performs treatment to restore a historic photograph.

DELAWARE CITY – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation will host a photography preservation workshop from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 5 at the Grass Dale Center, 108 North Reedy Point Road, Delaware City, DE 19706. The event is free and open to the public.

The program, “Worth More Than 1000 Words: Identifying and Caring for Your Family Photographs,” will be led by University of Delaware Art Conservation student Annabelle Fichtner. The hands-on workshop will teach participants how to identify and care for common types of photographs that may be in family collections.

Participants need not have prior experience in art or photograph conservation.

For more information, contact Jacob Miller, Interpretive Programs Manager, Fort Delaware/Fort DuPont State Parks, 302-834-7941.

Contact: Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 49, No. 44

Collaboration leads to largest round of Delaware farmland preservation in four years

DOVER, Del. — More than 127,000 acres of Delaware farmland are now permanently preserved for future generations, with the purchase of the development rights of 41 farms totaling 3,534 acres. This is the 22nd consecutive year of easement selections by the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation. Many of the farms in this round would not have been preserved without matching funds from multiple sources, including the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), Sussex County Council, and Kent County Levy Court.

“I am proud to announce the largest round of Delaware farmland permanently preserved through the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Program in the last four years. This is a result of federal funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and funding from both Sussex County and Kent County,” said Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “It is because of the importance that the General Assembly and the Governor’s office have placed on this program and the commitment of our partners in preserving farmland, that we can make it possible to keep Delaware land in agriculture.”

In this round of easement selections, there was one farm in New Castle County, thirty in Kent County, and ten in Sussex County preserved.

The Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation selects those farms approved for easement purchase using an impartial discounted ranking system that maximizes benefits for taxpayers. The Foundation does not own the land, but rather purchases landowners’ development rights and places a permanent agricultural conservation easement on the property. Landowners must first voluntarily enroll their farm into a 10-year preservation district before they can sell an easement. In addition to over 127,000 acres in permanent easements, Delaware’s Aglands Preservation Program has over 45,000 acres of land enrolled in farmland preservation districts.

This year the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is celebrating 25 years of conservation easements, including wetland and agricultural easements. In Delaware, NRCS has provided more than 50 million dollars of funding to help preserve 302 farms and more than 40,300 acres since 1997.

County governments can choose to partner with the state program and add county funds to select properties in their areas, leveraging state resources for the greatest impact. In the round announced today, both Kent and Sussex County governments provided funding to assist with the purchase of development rights for farms in their respective counties.

“Kent County is thrilled to partner once again with the Delaware Department of Agriculture in the preservation of significant productive farmland in Kent County” said County Administrator Mike Petit de Mange. “Through this partnership we are preserving an additional 1,273 Acres of high quality working land in support of our number one industry in Central Delaware. The Levy Court is grateful to our local farmers for their commitment and contributions to the economy and quality of life in Kent County and to their commitment to the Agland Preservation Program.”

Delaware’s statewide program made its first round of easement purchases in 1996, and has since preserved 22 percent of New Castle County farmland, 38 percent of Kent County farmland and 16 percent of Sussex County farmland.

“Sussex County supports the agriculture sector and is excited to partner with the State to help preserve our number one industry,” said Sussex County Administrator Todd F. Lawson. “Because of these efforts, ten farms representing 780 acres will be preserved in Sussex County, ensuring the long-term viability of agriculture in our State.”

The Foundation’s Board of Trustees includes representatives from agriculture and state agencies. Trustees are: Bob Garey, chairman; Bill Vanderwende, vice-chairman; L. Allen Messick Jr., treasurer; William H. “Chip” Narvel Jr., secretary; Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse; State Treasurer Ken Simpler; Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Shawn Garvin; Peter Martin; Theodore P. Bobola Jr.; Robert Emerson; and Janice Truitt.


Media Contact: Stacey Hofmann, 302-698-4542, stacey.hofmann@delaware.gov

DNREC launches new online tool to help Delaware landowners locate wetlands on their property

DOVER – DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring & Assessment Program today announced the launch of the Delaware Freshwater Wetland Toolbox, a new online tool that aids Delaware landowners in locating wetlands that may exist on their property.

“Delaware is rich in wetlands – no matter where you stand in the state you’re probably no more than a mile away from a wetland,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Identifying and conserving these natural wetland resources is key to protecting the important functions wetlands provide, and technology such as the new online tool can make such information more readily available to us.”

The Freshwater Wetland Toolbox allows landowners to scroll through six wetland “hot topics” including: Wetland Mapping Viewer, Identify Wetlands, Benefits, Tidal vs. Non-Tidal, Help Wetlands, Get Your Free Gift and Contacts. The first stop on the site, Mapped Wetlands, allows users to input an address into a map viewer and zoom into the specified location to see if wetlands may be present.

In addition to the interactive map, landowners can find key identifying features of wetlands using the checklist Discovering Wetlands. The checklist can be carried outdoors to help find signs of wetlands in a landscape. Meanwhile, landowners are reminded that the map and checklist only summarize wetlands, as DNREC encourages the hiring of a professional to perform actual wetland delineations.

Landowners also can sign up on the website to make the Wetland Protection Promise and receive a free Delaware Wetlands gift by pledging to do three simple tasks in their daily lives. Tasks listed include choosing to landscape with native plants, disposing of trash in the proper locations, avoiding building on wetland areas, and volunteering for an annual cleanup or planting event.

Also available to landowners with a wetland area on their property is a free wetland health check by DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring & Assessment Program staff, who will point out what might be stressing to wetlands on your property and how to make them healthier.

To use the new online tool, please click on Delaware Freshwater Wetland Toolbox. For more information, contact DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring & Assessment Program within the Division of Watershed Stewardship at 302-739-9939.

Media contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 47, No. 83


Delaware releases historic preservation plan for 2013–2017

Photo of Delaware Historic Preservation Plan 2013-2017 coverThe Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs has recently released “Preserving Our Past for a Better Future: Delaware’s Historic Preservation Plan, 2013–2017.” The plan provides all Delawareans who are passionate about historic preservation with a framework for effective decision-making, for coordinating statewide preservation activities and for communicating statewide preservation policy, goals and values to the preservation constituency, decision-makers and interested parties across the state. Go to the following to read the full plan. Printed copies are available on request.




Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone:  302-736-7413
E-mail:  Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web:   http://history.delaware.gov

Nominations sought for Delaware’s 2013 Wetland Warrior: Award honors exemplary efforts that benefit the state’s wetlands

DOVER (April 9, 2013) – DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program is seeking nominations for the 2013 Delaware Wetland Warrior Award, which recognizes exemplary efforts to protect wetlands and the critical services they provide to all Delawareans.

The Wetland Warrior award, now in its sixth year, is presented annually to a citizen, organization, business or group that has demonstrated outstanding efforts to benefit Delaware wetlands through outreach and education, monitoring and assessment, or restoration and protection. The award will be presented on Governor’s Day, Thursday, July 25, at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington.

Information on submitting a nomination is available on DNREC’s Delaware Wetlands web page. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, June 21. For more information, please contact Wetland Outreach Specialist Maggie Pletta at 302-739-9939, or email Margaret.Pletta@delaware.gov.

“The award recognizes wetland stewards who have made an effort to help ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the natural services provided by wetlands that contribute to our quality of life including clean water, flood and storm protection, and wildlife habitat,” said Pletta. “Wetland Warriors are Delaware’s environmental heroes – who work tirelessly to slow wetland loss, help restore degraded wetlands, preserve habitat, increase awareness of the value of wetlands and bolster support for their protection.”

The 2012 Wetland Warrior recipients were:

  • Clif Bakhsh of Middletown, a member of Delaware Ducks Unlimited’s Appoquinimink Chapter who has been active for more than 25 years in numerous local and national roles, was recognized for his dedication to preserving open space in Delaware and to educating children about the benefits of wetlands.
  • David Carter, a biologist and wetland professional with DNREC for more than 25 years, was recognized for his use of innovative planning and funding tools to improve the management and protection of wetlands in the state, as well as supporting outreach and education initiatives such as Thank You Delaware Bay.

For a complete list of past recipients, visit DNREC’s Wetland Warrior Page.

Delaware has more than 320,000 acres of wetlands, comprising about 25 percent of the state’s area. Wetlands protect lives and property from the impacts of floods and storms, filter pollutants and improve water quality, reduce erosion and provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife. Almost every part of our state is within one mile of a wetland – making wetland protection vital to our health and safety.

DNREC studies indicate that over the past 15 years, more than 3,896 acres of wetlands were lost statewide due to conversion to other land uses. This acreage is significant because in the previous 10-year period, the total statewide wetland loss was 1,996 acres. These recent trends make recognizing the conservationists who have prioritized wetlands even more important. It is through natural resource stewards, such as Wetland Warrior, that Delaware will protect its natural treasures.

Check out the “How You Can Help” webpage to learn more about opportunities to protect wetlands. Here you can find the Wetland Public Participation Guidebook, a comprehensive resource developed to inspire citizens to take actions to protect wetlands. Also featured is the latest information on wetland health, wetland loss studies, regulations, wetland impacts and how they can be prevented, and how the public can get involved with local land use decisions that could affect wetlands. Also on the webpage is a new wetlands video highlighting wetland benefits, Purify, Provide, and Protect.  

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

Vol. 43, No. 137