DNREC receives EPA’s PISCES award; other milestones announced at the former NVF site in Yorklyn

DOVER – As revitalization continues at the former NVF facility in Yorklyn, DNREC’s new water quality project at the site has been recognized as an Exceptional Project by the EPA, one of five such projects nationwide, for its excellence and innovation in Clean Water Infrastructure, winning the coveted PISCES award. Two DNREC Divisions, Waste & Hazardous Substances, and Parks & Recreation, collaborated to remediate the zinc-contaminated site at the former factory. Following the cleanup, a created, remediated two-acre wetland is nearly complete, in addition to four other wetlands that will soon be constructed in the vicinity.

In addition, three new trails at the former NVF site have been completed: the Yorklyn Bridge Trail, the Oversee Trail, and the “CCArts Trail” (yet to be officially named). Under construction now is a bridge that will connect the Yorklyn Bridge trail to Benge Road and the Auburn Heights Mansion.

The PISCES award recognizes the importance of the new wetland to mitigate flooding and improve water quality in the Red Clay Creek area, the support of the economic redevelopment of the Yorklyn Fiber Mills District, and the innovative use of funding for the project.

PISCES Award Presentation
Pictured left to right: Matthew Chesser, DNREC administrator of preservation planning; DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin; EPA Region 3 Administrator Cosmo Servidio; Governor John Carney; John Cargill, DNREC environmental scientist, Site Investigation and Restoration Section; State Senator Gregory F. Lavelle; Marjorie Crofts, director, DNREC Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances, and New Castle Councilwoman Janet Kilpatrick.

“EPA is proud to have selected this clean water project as one of five rated exceptional in the nation,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “The work at the NVF site will continue to improve water quality in the creek, and enhance the quality of life for residents by protecting this vulnerable area from flooding, and making way for future economic development. It’s an excellent example of the power of partnerships between EPA and the states and communities we serve.”

“We are proud that DNREC has been recognized by EPA with the PISCES award,” said Governor John Carney. “Not only does this project clean up the environment, but it also will support redevelopment. This whole area was once a polluted brownfield site, and because of DNREC’s work, the Yorklyn Fiber Mills District is better equipped to attract more businesses, create jobs, and help strengthen our economy.”

The EPA award acknowledges excellence and innovation within the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). The CWSRF is a federal-state partnership that provides communities with a permanent, independent source of low-cost financing for a wide range of water quality infrastructure projects. The EPA’s PISCES (Performance and Innovation in the SRF Creating Environmental Success) award celebrates innovation demonstrated by Delaware’s CWSRF programs and assistance recipients.

“Whether at a federal, state, or local level, we should always be striving to get better results for less money, and the Yorklyn project shows that we can, especially when we are working together,” said Senator Tom Carper, who serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “This is an example of exactly the kind of work that EPA should be partnering with states to complete in a more timely and efficient manner. Not only do cleanups of contaminated sites reduce public health risks, they also help to revitalize communities and spur economic development in the area. Proud to see that, once again, Delaware is leading by example and finding ways to most effectively utilize taxpayer dollars.”

“We are honored to receive the PISCES award,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “This new wetland is the centerpiece of the site, which will help improve water quality, mitigate flooding, create habitat, and support the economic redevelopment of the Yorklyn area. Three new trails, and others that are under construction, are drawing more and more people to this vibrant new development – commercial, residential and recreational – and turning Yorklyn into a major destination on the Delaware map.”

In total, $3.3 million in CWSRF loan financing was provided to DNREC’s Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances to remove zinc-contaminated soils and create the two-acre wetland by replacing industrial-contaminated soils with clean fill material and topsoil, Another $1 million CWSRF Water Quality Improvement Loan was provided to DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation to create the four additional wetlands.

DNREC’s Environmental Finance Office used several innovative financing tools to facilitate project funding. Funding to provide repayment of the CWSRF loans was secured by the state’s Hazardous Substances Cleanup Act and the Division of Parks & Recreation.

The soil remediation efforts at the NVF site included the removal and disposal of approximately 170 tons (340,000 pounds) of zinc and more than 200 pounds of hazardous lead from the soil during a seven-month period beginning in December 2016. A groundwater zinc recovery and treatment system has also been in operation at the site since 2008. Converting the excavation into a wetland that provides flood water storage capacity and other wetland benefits is necessary in the historically flood-prone Red Clay Creek Valley. For perspective, using average recovery rates of zinc from the existing treatment system, it would have taken nearly 40 years to remove the same mass of contaminants from groundwater, at an estimated cost of $14 million. Utilizing the $3.3 million CWSRF loan enabled DNREC to perform necessary remediation in the short term, thus saving taxpayers a projected amount of $10.7 million in the long term.

Using funds for contaminated site remediation has not been done in Delaware before, and is just one of many unique and innovative solutions that the project team employed to complete the work. Substantial savings to Delaware taxpayers will result, and further redevelopment will occur at an accelerated pace. Future redevelopment at the site is designed to provide decades of increased economic value and will be a unique destination to visit and explore in historic Yorklyn.

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


Jan. 24 deadline approaching to register for 2018 Delaware Wetlands Conference

The cover for the 2018 Delaware Wetlands Conference, by artist Teri Edgeworth, who won the 2017 conference art contest.

DOVER – Registration closes Wednesday, Jan. 24 for the 2018 Delaware Wetlands Conference, so those who have not yet registered are encouraged to do so now. Organized by DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship, the conference will be held Wednesday, Jan. 31 and Thursday, Feb. 1 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington. Online registration and information about the event, including sponsorships, can be found at http://de.gov/dewetlandsconference.

DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program and the Delaware Coastal Training Program have planned a two-day event that showcases the importance of wetlands. Each day includes invited speakers, poster sessions, networking time, lunches and a total of 62 presentations that cover wetland restoration, climate change, mapping, education and outreach, planning and conservation and plants and animals.

More than 400 wetland experts and enthusiasts from the Mid-Atlantic area are expected to gather at the biennial conference to share the latest innovations in wetland research, outreach and conservation programs. The conference brings together scientists, planners, county and federal representatives, community leaders, educators and natural resource managers to discuss current research on tidal and non-tidal wetlands, the value of the region’s wetlands and the impact their management has on the community.

Featured speakers include Dr. Lenore Tedesco from The Wetlands Institute, who will address resiliency-driven coastal wetland restorations, and special guests Governor John Carney and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.

For more information on the 2018 Delaware Wetlands Conference, including the agenda, please visit Delaware Wetlands Conference, or contact Brittany Haywood at Brittany.Haywood@delaware.gov, or 302-739-9939.

Vol. 48, No. 11

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


New video series – ‘One Minute Wetlands’ – now available on DNREC’s YouTube Channel

DOVER – The new Delaware Wetlands video series, “One-Minute Wetlands,” premieres this week on DNREC’s YouTube Channel with two new videos: “Free Ranging Marshes” and “Marsh Gas.” The series is produced by DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship, Wetland Monitoring & Assessment Program, in conjunction with DNREC’s Public Affairs Office, and provides an intended grade school audience with a quick look into wetland hot topics and fun facts.

“Free Ranging Marshes” addresses marsh migration, the process of wetlands naturally creeping away from open water as sea levels rise. “Marsh Gas” offers a comical look at the chemical process behind that distinctive sulfur odor emanating from Delaware’s salt marshes – one of the most common questions the Wetland Monitoring & Assessment Program receives.

In addition to the “One Minute Wetlands” series, the DNREC YouTube Channel offers a wide variety of fun, interesting and educational videos, most of which are written and produced in-house by DNREC’s Public Affairs Office.

To view “Free Ranging Marshes,” “Marsh Gas,” and other DNREC YouTube Channel videos, please visit youtube.com/delawarednrec.

For more information about Delaware’s wetlands, visit de.gov/DelawareWetlands.

Vol. 47, No. 265

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


Registration now open for DNREC-organized 2018 Delaware Wetlands Conference

DOVER – Registration is open now for the 2018 Delaware Wetlands Conference, organized by DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship, to be held Wednesday, Jan. 31 and Thursday, Feb. 1 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington. Online registration and information about the event, including sponsorships, can be found at de.gov/dewetlandsconference.

DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program and the Delaware Coastal Training Program have planned a two-day event that showcases the importance of wetlands. Each day includes invited speakers, poster sessions, networking time, lunches and a total of 62 presentations that cover wetland restoration, climate change, mapping, education and outreach, planning and conservation and plants and animals. New to this year’s conference is a wetlands poster contest for undergraduate and graduate college students.

More than 400 wetland experts and enthusiasts from the Mid-Atlantic area are expected to gather at the biennial conference to share the latest innovations in wetland research, outreach and conservation programs. The conference brings together scientists, planners, county and federal representatives, community leaders, educators and natural resource managers to discuss current research on tidal and non-tidal wetlands, the value of the region’s wetlands and the impact their management has on the community.

Discounted conference admission rates are available through Wednesday, Dec. 6 for early-bird registration. Registration closes Wednesday, Jan. 24.

For more information on the 2018 Delaware Wetlands Conference, including the agenda, list of presentations, and instructions on how to submit a poster, please visit Delaware Wetlands Conference, or contact Brittany Haywood at Brittany.Haywood@delaware.gov, or 302-739-9939.

Vol. 47, No. 247

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


DNREC hosts video premiere of ‘Delaware Bayshore Forever’ at the State Fair

HARRINGTON – Today at the Delaware State Fair, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin welcomed Governor John Carney, DNREC conservation partners and guests to the DNREC Building’s theater for the premiere of “Delaware Bayshore Forever,” a new video produced for DNREC by Michael Oates and Jeanne Covert of 302 Stories, Inc.

The 12-minute video takes viewers on a land and aerial tour of the Bayshore’s important ecological, economic, cultural, and historic resources, as well as featuring some of the people who care deeply about the region’s unique natural and cultural heritage, and depend upon its rich and abundant resources.

The video supports DNREC’s partner program, “Bayshore Forever – A 21st Century Land Conservation and Restoration Strategy for Delaware’s Bayshore Region.” This program establishes goals to protect and restore Bayshore habitats that will increase resiliency and adaptation, reduce erosion and flooding, and protect wildlife through projects including habitat protection with interested landowners, enhancement of coastal impoundments and water control structures, restoration of forest buffers and tidal marshes, and managing invasive species.

In addition to DNREC, program partners include The Nature Conservancy, Delaware Wild Lands, The Conservation Fund, Delaware Nature Society, Ducks Unlimited, Delmarva Ornithological Society, Delaware Greenways, Kent County Conservancy, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

To view “Delaware Bayshore Forever,” visit DNREC YouTube.

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

Vol. 47, No. 171

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