DNREC Announces the 2022 Delaware Wetlands Conference

The Delaware Wetlands Conference brings together a wide range of interests – from scientists, natural resource managers and environmental professionals, to government representatives, community leaders and educators

 

The 10th Delaware Wetlands Conference presented by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 1 and 2, 2022. Information about opportunities to sponsor the wetlands conference, and to exhibit and present at the conference can be found at de.gov/dewetlandsconference.

The DNREC Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program and the DNREC Coastal Training Program have planned the two-day event to showcase the importance of wetlands in Delaware and across the mid-Atlantic region. More than 400 wetland experts and enthusiasts from the mid-Atlantic region and beyond are expected to gather at the biennial conference to share the latest innovations in wetland research, conservation and outreach programs.

The conference brings together scientists, planners, county, state, and federal representatives, community leaders, educators, and natural resource managers. Attendees will gain insight into current research on tidal and non-tidal wetlands, the value of the region’s wetlands and the beneficial impacts that professional management of wetlands can have on a community. Each day will include poster sessions, networking time, and presentations during concurrent sessions. Oral and poster presentations cover wetland topics related to coastal resilience, soils, beneficial use, monitoring and assessment, remediation, stream and wetland restoration, wildlife, policy/legal considerations, green technology, mitigation, and hydrodynamics.

Wetlands play a vital role in everyday lives, protecting communities from flooding and erosion and boosting local economies through tourism and the seafood industry. Taking advantage of opportunities to sponsor, exhibit, and present at the conference not only supports wetland science and education in the mid-Atlantic region, but also gains visibility with important leaders in the field of wetlands professionals.

For more information on the 2022 Delaware Wetlands Conference, including how to register for it beginning Nov. 12, visit de.gov/dewetlandsconference.

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 DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship develops and implements innovative watershed assessment, monitoring and implementation activities. The DNREC 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 @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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DNREC Chester-Choptank Watershed Report Details Wetland Health and Management Recommendations

Chester-Choptank Wetland/DNREC photo

 

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has finalized a report card on the health of wetlands within the Delaware portion of the Chester-Choptank watershed, with the wetlands earning an encouraging B grade but with recommendations for improvement. Published by the DNREC Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program (WMAP), the report card covers the Chester-Choptank watershed, a combination of several watersheds, including Sassafras River, Elk River, Chester River, and Upper Choptank River. The Delaware part of the watershed resides in New Castle and Kent County, where it encompasses 113,944 acres (178 square miles) of land.

Of Delaware’s many watersheds, only the Chester-Choptank feeds into the Chesapeake Bay. During the summer of 2018, environmental scientists from the DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship collected data on the plants, hydrology and wetland buffer disturbances from 76 sites within the Delaware portion of the Chester-Choptank watershed. Using these condition assessment checklists and biological metrics, they assessed the wetlands in the watershed to be in fair condition, falling in the middle of Delaware watersheds previously rated by DNREC. The WMAP scientists found the most common stressors to the Chester-Choptank to be selective tree cutting and invasive plants; ditching for added drainage and microtopographic alterations; and channelized waterways and development.

The report found that approximately 35% of the land area of the Chester-Choptank watershed is currently covered by wetlands. WMAP performed freshwater assessments in 30 flat wetlands, 27 riverine wetlands, and 19 depression wetlands using the Delaware Rapid Assessment Procedure (DERAP) Version 6.0, a data collection method created by DNREC environmental scientists (and available for use by professionals and the public alike). No tidal wetlands were assessed because the watershed comprises a headwater region of the Chesapeake Bay, which means it is too far inland for the presence of tidal wetlands.

DNREC’s data was used to create a technical report and a more user-friendly “watershed report card” that summarized not only the health of the Chester-Choptank watershed’s wetlands, but also examined the change in wetland acreage in recent decades; what value the wetlands provide; and how recent changes in land use will impact wetlands in the future.

In assessing it, WMAP estimated that by 2007, 39% of historic wetland acreage in the watershed had been lost, mostly due to land conversion such as development. Impacts to wetland health reduce a wetland’s ability to perform fully, diminishing its valuable role in controlling flooding and erosion; improving water quality; storing excess rainwater; and providing ecosystem services for both people and wildlife.

Based on the results of this study, DNREC made recommendations targeting scientists, public decision makers and landowners toward improving and enhancing the future health of Delaware’s wetlands. These recommendations included maintaining adequate wetland buffers, restoration activities, increasing education and outreach, using best management practices, suggesting that landowners protect wetlands on their property, and improving the protection of the watershed’s non-tidal wetlands for the future.

The wetland reports by the DNREC Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program are funded by the U.S. EPA’s Region 3 Wetland Program Development. They are supported by the DNREC Nonpoint Source program, which shares data, best management practice (BMP) issues, and insight into the challenges within the Chesapeake Bay region. For more information about the Chester-Choptank watershed, please visit https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/watershed-stewardship/wetlands/assessments/chester-choptank/.

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 DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship develops and implements innovative watershed assessment, monitoring and implementation activities. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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DNREC to Present Sea Level Rise and Adaptation Webinar Sept. 14

Dr. C. Rhett Jackson

Increasing coastal resilience to sea level rise through natural infrastructure and dredge material is the topic of a free webinar at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, presented by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, in partnership with the Delaware Living Shorelines Committee.

The webinar speaker is Dr. C. Rhett Jackson of the University of Georgia, graduate coordinator for the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, and a member of Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems and Network for Engineering with Nature.

Dr. Jackson, a John Porter Stevens Distinguished Professor of Water Resources, will discuss how barrier islands and coastal communities of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, must adapt to survive due to sea level rise driven by global warming. His presentation will describe how these areas face increasing flood-related problems, issues with stormwater and sewer drainage systems, heavier damage during tropical storms, and significant loss of land area. In taking action on these issues, solutions have been developed including a mix of natural infrastructure projects, traditional infrastructure retrofits, and policy refinements. Jackson’s presentation will also touch on how beneficial use of dredge materials can help reduce overall costs of sea-level rise adaptation.

The webinar is part of an ongoing virtual series presented by the Delaware Living Shorelines Committee, a working group dedicated to facilitating the understanding, peer review and implementation of living shoreline tactics within the state. DNREC’s participation is represented by the Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program and the Delaware Coastal Training Program.

For more information, visit Delaware Living Shorelines. Registration for the webinar and more information about it are also available on the DNREC events and meetings calendar at de.gov/DNRECmeetings.

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 DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship develops and implements innovative watershed assessment, monitoring and implementation activities. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov


Sign Up for Assateague Living Shoreline Project Webinar

Delaware Living Shorelines Committee’s Indian River Marina Living Shoreline Project

The public is invited to learn about the Assateague Living Shoreline Project by attending a free webinar at 1 p.m., Wednesday, April 21. The event is hosted by the Delaware Living Shorelines Committee through the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program and the Delaware Coastal Training Program.

This webinar is part of an ongoing virtual series since May 2020 and is offered free of charge. For more information, visit delawarelivingshorelines.org. Registration and information is also available on the DNREC events calendar.

Maryland Coastal Bays Program’s Assateague Living Shoreline Project
Maryland Coastal Bays Program’s Assateague Living Shoreline Project

The Assateague Living Shoreline Project was conceived as an opportunity to implement a dynamic living shoreline in a high-energy environment to address erosion, enhance habitat, and provide user-friendly access to the shallow waters of Sinepuxent Bay, an inland waterway that connects to the Atlantic Ocean via the Ocean City Inlet. The project was completed in 2018 and is currently being monitored to access performance. Speakers on the project will include individuals from Maryland Coastal Bays Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and Underwood & Associates, Inc.

A living shoreline is a nature-based structure built on the edge of a shoreline using natural materials. Previously, hardened structures such as riprap or sea walls were used to stabilize eroding shorelines, but living shorelines are an innovative and environmentally friendly alternative that uses natural materials and native plants including oyster shells and biodegradable coconut-fiber logs.

Living shorelines work by mimicking natural conditions and can change or adapt to the conditions around them, making them a sustainable option for shoreline management. They also provide many other benefits for humans, plants, and animals, including cleaning water, improving habitat for animals, fish, and birds, and providing aesthetics for property owners.

For more information, visit Delaware Living Shorelines.

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 DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship develops and implements innovative watershed assessment, monitoring and implementation activities. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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