DNREC preparing for upcoming dredging of Massey’s Ditch

LONG NECK – DNREC’s Shoreline & Waterway Management Section is preparing for the upcoming dredging of a vital channel for Delaware boaters, Massey’s Ditch, which is the main waterway connecting Rehoboth Bay to Indian River Bay. The northern portion of the waterway known as Baker’s Channel will also be dredged as part of the project. Baker’s Channel is the alternate route for boaters to take to get from Rehoboth Bay to Indian River Bay when Massey’s Ditch becomes impassible due to shoaling.

In preparation for the project, DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship channel-marking crew is removing all aids to navigation (buoys) from Baker’s Channel. Over the last several years, numerous buoys from Baker’s Channel have been lost during the winter, due to icing and extreme weather conditions, and it has become very expensive to continue to replace them. The channel-marking crew will return in the spring prior to the boating season to restore these navigational aids.

The Massey’s Ditch dredging project will begin early next month, and be completed by the end of February. When the project is complete, Massey’s Ditch will be dredged to a width of 100 feet and a depth of 7.5 feet. About 100,000 cubic yards of material – almost completely comprised of sand – will be dredged, and pumped to the north side of Indian River Inlet to help replenish the beach at Delaware Seashore State Park in order to protect against erosion and storm damage.

For more information, please call the Division of Watershed Stewardship, 302-739-9921.

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

DNREC Shoreline & Waterway Management Section urges boater alertness for navigating Baker’s Channel this summer

Low tide leaves only 1.5 feet of water until Massey Ditch dredging

DOVER – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Shoreline & Waterway Management Section advises boaters traveling in the Inland Bays over Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer to be alert when navigating in Baker’s Channel. The channel extends from Rehoboth Bay to Indian River Bay around the eastern side of the island known as Lynch’s Thicket.

The entrance to Baker’s Channel in Rehoboth Bay between Channel Marker 1 and the gate at Markers 3 and 4 is very shallow at low tide. There is only about 1.5 feet of water at low tide for boaters to navigate. This portion of Baker’s Channel is scheduled to be dredged later this year as part of the Massey’s Ditch maintenance dredging project.

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

Funding assistance available to beginning farmers for poultry mortality management from Kent Conservation District partnership with DNREC, Department of Agriculture

DOVER – Approximately $1 million in conservation funding assistance is now available to help beginning farmers in Kent County address poultry mortality management on their farming operation. The funding – for implementing water quality best management practices including composters and mortality freezers to address routine mortality – comes through a program led by the Kent Conservation District in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), the Department of Agriculture (DDA), and the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).

Proper poultry mortality management is critical to prevent leaching of nutrients, spreading of disease, and attracting vermin. The beginning farmer poultry mortality management project administrated by the USDA’s NRCS will improve water quality, biosecurity, and also will help Delaware meet the Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for nutrients in the county’s waterways.

Financial assistance in Kent County is made available recognizing that beginning farmers face significant startup costs, and that there is a backlog of applicants awaiting approval through financial assistance programs for composters, mortality freezers, poultry manure structures, and heavy-use area protection pads.

To qualify, beginning farmers must meet the eligibility requirements of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Interested beginning farmers are encouraged to visit the Kent Conservation District office at 800 Bay Road, Suite 2, Dover, DE 19901 to sign up for the program. The district accepts applications year round, but the next application deadline is June 15. All applications are batched monthly and expedited through the contract process in order to implement water quality BMPs in a timely manner.

Funding is through a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project led by the Kent Conservation District, DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship and Watershed Assessment and Management Section, the DDA’s Nutrient Management Program, and the Delmarva Poultry Industry. In addition, Farm Freezers LLC and Greener Solutions LLC are offering a $100 rebate per freezer unit purchased through the program, along with a collection fee rebate of $100 per flock for one year after installation.

For more information, please contact Timothy Riley, district coordinator, Kent Conservation District at 302-741-2600, ext. 3, or visit www.kentcd.org.

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

Vol. 48, No. 122

2017 DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Cleanup drew 1,500-plus volunteers who collected 3.8 tons of trash

DOVER – This year’s DNREC-sponsored 30th annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup held Sept. 16 drew 1,567 volunteers, who collected 3.8 tons of trash from 47 sites along more than 75 miles of Delaware’s waterways and coastline stretching from Wilmington to Fenwick Island. About one-quarter of that trash was recyclables – mostly aluminum cans and glass and plastic beverage bottles.

DNREC organizes the annual cleanup with co-sponsors including: the Ocean Conservancy; Edgewell Personal Care/Playtex Manufacturing Inc., which donates gloves; and Waste Management, which hauls trash and recyclables collected by volunteers.

“In addition to marring the natural beauty of our beaches and waterways, trash is dangerous to marine life and unhealthy for water quality,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Each year, the Coastal Cleanup helps make a difference for marine life and water quality – and it’s the hundreds of dedicated volunteers, many of whom come back year after year, who make the Cleanup an annual environmental success story.”

Some of the more unusual items found during this year’s cleanup were: a wallet, wrist watch, cell phone, parmesan cheese shaker, a large heavy rug, a statue of the Virgin Mary, golf tee, ant trap, Big Wheel tire, cooler, garden hose, vacuum cleaner, trailer registration tag, toy bulldozer, green army men, half a driver’s license and credit card, handle bars, snow hat, mermaid doll, Mardi Gras beads, confetti, glowsticks, oil cans, multiple gas tanks and televisions, and, at one site, 205 liquor bottles.

Some items were notable in their numbers. Statewide, volunteers picked up 16,158 cigarette butts, up from last year’s total of 13,577. Balloons increased from 654 to 933 this year. Other items included 397 fireworks, 289 spent shotgun shells and 2,671 plastic bags.

This year, more than 22,126 pieces of food/beverage-related trash were picked up. This year’s notable numbers included 4,580 food wrappers, 4,636 plastic bottle caps, 993 lids, 1,898 straws, 2,815 plastic beverage bottles, 1,958 beverage cans, 1,004 glass bottles and 4,242 paper, plastic and foam cups, plates and take-out containers.

Delaware’s next Coastal Cleanup is set for Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. Registration will be posted on DNREC’s website at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/Admin/Pages/Delaware-Coastal-Cleanup.aspxnext July, with groups of 10 or encouraged to pre-register beginning May 1 by calling 302-739-9902 or emailing Delaware Coastal Cleanup Coordinator Joanna Wilson at Joanna.wilson@delaware.gov.

Delaware’s Coastal Cleanup is part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. The types and quantities of trash collected are recorded on data cards and forwarded to the Center for Marine Conservation, which compiles the information to help identify debris sources and focus efforts on elimination or reduction. For more information, please visit www.oceanconservancy.org.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, at 302-739-9902.

Vol. 47, No. 242


‘Pollinators for Clean Water’ presentations Feb. 6 and March 20 at Seaford Library as part of Reclaim Our River Program

SEAFORD – The DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship’s Reclaim Our River (ROR) program, in partnership with the Delaware Nature Society and the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, will host two free presentations on pollinators and gardening for clean water at the Seaford Library Feb. 6 and March 20. Both presentations start at 6 p.m. at the library located at 600 N. Market Street Extended, Seaford, DE 19973.

The presentations will address how, over the last 20 years, the monarch butterfly population worldwide has declined by 90 percent – a critical environmental loss since plants depend on pollinators such as butterflies to reproduce. They also will focus on how pollinators enable flowering plants to help purify water and prevent erosion through roots that hold the soil in place and foliage that buffers the impact of rain as it falls to the earth.

All who attend and participate will receive free milkweed seeds along with information on activities that support clean water by ROR partnership members. Attendees also will learn about this year’s 2017 ROR-Nanticoke Series which again offer numerous opportunities to have fun around the water and learn surefire techniques for keeping our waterways clean, according to Philip Miller, DNREC Nonpoint Source Program, Division of Watershed Stewardship.

The Feb. 6 pollinator presentation will be given by Mike McFarlin, who has single-handedly raised hundreds of monarch butterflies each summer in an attempt to repopulate Delaware’s monarch population. His presentation will delve into this majestic butterfly’s migration routes and the impact humans have on their environment. Mr. McFarlin will also discuss his experiences looking for eggs, raising the monarch from eggs, feeding them, and ultimately releasing the developed butterfly.

The second presentation March 20 will be led by Alice Mohrman from the Delaware Nature Society’s Abbott’s Mill Nature Center, and will focus on gardening for clean water and butterflies. From Ms. Mohrman, participants will learn how to invite pollinators, birds and butterflies to your yard, deck, patio, or balcony. Also provided are tips on how to landscape your yard, big or small, with attractive native plants which support wildlife habitat while helping to reduce pollution in our waterways. Ms. Mohrman also will demonstrate a few easy steps toward creating a Certified Wildlife Habitat.

For more information about both presentations, please contact Alice Mohrman at 302-422-0847 or alice@delawarenaturesociety.org. For more information on the Reclaim Our River program, please contact Philip Miller at 302-739-9939 or Philip.miller@delaware.gov.

The Reclaim Our River – Nanticoke Series is devoted to bringing monthly events, workshops and recreational activities to the Nanticoke Watershed. The series offers participants fun opportunities to connect with Delaware’s waterways and provides important information on water quality that can help in protecting aquatic resources.

Media Contact: Philip Miller, DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship Nonpoint Source Program, 302-739-9939; email: philip.miller@delaware.gov

Vol. 47, No. 23