More Delaware Beaches are Cleared of Oily Debris

Unified Command Conducts Final Shoreline Assessments

Cleanup crews under the unified command have successfully cleared all Delaware Bay beaches and another stretch of Atlantic Ocean coastline of oily debris and tar balls. After the latest shoreline assessment late Tuesday, only Gordon’s Pond at Cape Henlopen State Park, North Shores Beach, Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach require final sign off.

The unified command under the U.S. Coast Guard and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will continue to survey beaches and dispatch cleanup crews as necessary.

As crews conduct final assessments, beachgoers should avoid any remaining oily debris deposited along the wrack or high tide line.

The public is asked to continue reporting sizeable sightings of oiled debris, tar balls or oiled wildlife.

For reports concerning the Delaware coastline, call DNREC’s toll-free environmental hotline at 800-662-8802. For reports concerning the Maryland coastline, call the Maryland Department of the Environment at 866-633-4686.

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. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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Motorists Urged to Watch Out for Deer Crossing Roadways

Peak Deer Activity Calls for Vigilance at Dawn, Dusk and Night

Late October through November is prime time for increasing white-tailed deer activity in Delaware, leading up to their peak mating season in mid-November. With more deer crossing roadways, along with shorter days ahead, especially after the Nov. 1 change from daylight saving time back to Eastern Standard Time, motorists are urged to be on high alert to avoid collisions with these large animals.

“Bucks are very single-minded in their pursuit of does during the rut, their mating season, which lasts from October to December and peaks from Nov. 10 to 20. If that pursuit takes a buck or doe across a roadway in front of your vehicle, that’s where they’re going to go, whether it’s Route 1 or a rural road,” said Program Manager Joe Rogerson with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. “Drivers should pay particular attention on roads bordered by woods or agricultural fields, since deer typically cross between areas of cover, but not always.”

Although deer in roadways are a year-round hazard, national and state statistics indicate the last three months of the year are the most likely time for accidents. The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) reported the peak time in November 2019 with 461 crashes, more than double the 224 in October and triple the number reported in December, the other two highest months.

Deer tend to be most active in early morning and at dusk. According to OHS, deer-vehicle collisions occur most often between 6 and 7 a.m. and peak again between 5 and 7 p.m., a timeframe when many workers are heading home.

“Crashes involving deer are more frequent at dawn and dusk. Reduced visibility for drivers during these time periods make it more difficult to see deer approaching or crossing roadways,” said Kimberly Chesser, Director of the Delaware Office of Highway Safety. “The Office of Highway Safety urges drivers to remain focused, keeping their eyes on the road at all times, and reduce their speed when visibility is an issue.”

According to Delaware State Police (DSP), more than 1,800 crashes involving animals occurred on Delaware roads in 2019, 60 of which caused personal injuries and one resulted in a fatality.

“Deer dart across secondary roadways on a frequent basis, especially in the fall, but keep in mind they may also cross roadways during the day or in areas where there is ample lighting at night,” said Sgt. Darren Lester, Delaware State Police. “Travelers are always much safer when keeping full attention on their driving. This may not always prevent a deer-related crash, but it can certainly help minimize damage and/or injuries.”

The average white-tailed deer in Delaware weighs about 130 pounds, with larger bucks tipping the scales at 200 pounds or more. Hitting an animal that size can do serious and expensive damage to vehicles. Such a collision may also cause injury to drivers or passengers or trigger an accident involving other motorists.

AAA Mid-Atlantic notes the average claim submitted to AAA Insurance for a deer strike is more than $4,000. To avoid a large out-of-pocket expense, AAA recommends purchasing an auto policy including comprehensive coverage, which covers collisions with deer or other animals.

Based on reported insurance claims from July 1, 2019 to June 20, 2020, State Farm Insurance ranked Delaware 27th in the nation, with Delaware drivers having a 1 in 109 chance of animal collision.

DNREC, OHS, police agencies and auto insurance companies all agree: the best way to prevent or lessen the severity of deer collisions is attentive driving, which includes avoiding distractions that might take a driver’s eyes off the road, such as mobile phones, adjusting the radio, eating or passenger activities.

Additional safety tips include:

  • Always wear your seatbelt to reduce your risk of injury in a collision.
  • Reduce speed at night, on curves and in bad weather.
  • Switch to high beams when there is no oncoming traffic to better reflect the eyes of deer on or near the roadway and scan the sides of the road as well as what’s directly ahead.
  • Watch for “Deer Crossing” signs marking commonly-traveled areas on the road ahead. Slow down immediately and proceed with caution until past the crossing point.
  • Deer usually travel in groups, so if you see one deer, there are likely to be others.
  • Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten deer away. Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer, as these devices have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.
  • Do not swerve to miss a deer — brake and stay in your lane. Losing control of your vehicle, crossing into another lane, hitting an oncoming vehicle, or leaving the roadway and hitting another obstacle such as a tree or pole will likely be much more serious than hitting a deer.
  • If you hit a deer, stop at the scene, get your car off the road if possible, turn on your vehicle hazard lights and call 911.
  • Do not touch the animal or get too close; an injured deer may bite or kick, causing serious injury.

For more information about deer in Delaware, visit white-tailed deer or contact the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife at 302-739-9912.

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.

About Delaware Office of Highway Safety
The Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is committed to improving the safety of Delaware’s motoring public by focusing on behavioral traffic safety issues such as impaired driving, seat belt use, speeding, child passenger safety, pedestrian and bicycle safety, motorcycle safety, and teen driving issues. FAQs can be answered at ArriveAliveDE.com. You can follow the Delaware Office of Highway Safety by visiting us at: ArriveAliveDE.com, OHS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and YouTube.

About AAA
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 60 million members nationwide and more than 148,000 members in Delaware. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.

Media Contacts:
DNREC: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov
OHS: Kimberly Chesser, Kimberly.chesser@delaware.gov
DSP: Sgt. Darren Lester, Darren.lester@delaware.gov; Master Cpl. Heather Pepper, Heather.Pepper@delaware.gov; Cpl. Jason Hatchell, Jason.Hatchell@delaware.gov
AAA: Ken Grant, KGrant@aaamidatlantic.com

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Delaware Waterfowl and Trout Stamp Art Winners Announced

Just days after capturing his second Federal Duck Stamp contest, renowned Delaware wildlife artist Richard Clifton of Milford also won the state waterfowl stamp art contest. Judges selected his painting of a Mallard hen and drake to grace the 2021/22 Delaware stamp. In the 2021 Delaware Trout Stamp art contest, newcomer Dennis Arp of Culbertson, Neb., took the top prize with his painting of a brown trout.

The annual stamp art competition drew 21 entries for the 2021/22 Delaware Waterfowl Stamp and 18 entries for the 2021 Trout Stamp. The Waterfowl Stamp contest specified that submitted artwork must include a Mallard duck. Trout Stamp artwork entries could depict a rainbow, brown or brook trout. Both contests are sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

As the 2021/22 Delaware Waterfowl Stamp winner, Richard Clifton receives a $2,500 prize and 150 artist’s proofs of the limited edition print series of his first-place entry. Clifton, who resides on a historic family farm in the Milford area near Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, is an avid hunter and self-taught wildlife artist who works in acrylics with waterfowl among his favorite subjects. He has painted 52 winning duck stamps, including nine Delaware Waterfowl Stamps, the 1996 Australian Duck Stamp, the 2007/08 Federal Duck Stamp and most recently, the 2021/22 Federal Duck Stamp. Clifton also was named the 2018 Ducks Unlimited International Artist of the Year.

As the 2021 Delaware Trout Stamp winner, Dennis Arp receives a $250 prize and retains the rights to reproduce and sell prints of the stamp artwork. A Nebraska native, Arp is a self-taught artist and an avid outdoorsman from an early age. In addition, 30 years as an award-winning taxidermist specializing in fish and birds gave him extensive knowledge of their anatomy and behavior. After selling his business, he returned to his passion for painting. Arp also received honorable mentions in both California and Oklahoma’s 2020 duck stamp competitions.

Other winners were:

  • 2021/22 Waterfowl Stamp — Second place: Caleb Metrich, Lake Tomahawk, Wis.; third place: Matt Patterson, New Ipswich, N.H.; honorable mentions: Jonathan Milo, Monroe, Conn.; Paul Makuchal, Pocomoke City, Md.; and Robert Metropulos, Minocqua, Wis.
  • 2021 Trout Stamp — Second place: George Bradford, Georgetown, Del., brown trout; third place: Eric Jablonowski, Suwanee, Ga., brown trout; honorable mentions: Stephen Hamrick, Lakeville, Minn., rainbow trout; Ryan Peterson, Jackson, Wyo., brown trout; and David Weaver, Gettysburg, Pa., brook trout.

Art in each contest was judged by a different set of five judges. As part of COVID-19 safety precautions, each judge separately evaluated and scored the respective contest artwork in person rather than convening in the customary judge panel format. Videos depicting the artwork, judging and winning entries are available on the DNREC YouTube channel.

The winning 2021/22 Delaware Waterfowl Stamp will be available for purchase July 1, 2021, and the winning 2021 Delaware Trout Stamp will be available for purchase Jan. 1, 2021.

The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife, in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, started the Delaware Waterfowl Stamp and print program in 1980 to raise funds for waterfowl conservation, including acquiring and improving wetland habitats vital to the survival of migratory waterfowl. To date, more than $3.6 million has been raised. A Delaware Waterfowl Stamp and hunting license are required for most waterfowl hunters.

Delaware began requiring trout stamps for anglers in the 1950s, and a trout stamp and a general fishing license are required for most anglers to fish in designated trout waters during certain seasons, with the funds from the sale of the stamps used to purchase trout to stock in two downstate ponds and selected streams in northern New Castle County.

Delaware hunting and fishing licenses, as well as Waterfowl Stamps and Trout Stamps, are sold online and by license agents statewide. To find a participating agent, or to purchase licenses or stamps online, visit Delaware licenses. For additional information on Delaware hunting and fishing licenses, call 302-739-9918.

For more information on Delaware’s Waterfowl and Trout Stamp art competitions, visit Delaware Waterfowl Stamp and Delaware Trout Stamp.

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

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Piping Plovers Nesting in Delaware Reach New High Number

Over 50 Fledglings for Third Record Year, Above Species Recovery Goal

For the third consecutive year, Delaware recorded a new all-time high number of nesting piping plovers, small beach nesting birds on Delaware’s state endangered list. DNREC’s piping plover monitoring program tracked 21 nesting piping plover pairs that produced approximately 51 fledglings, young birds that can fly. This productivity rate of 2.4 fledglings per pair is well above the long-term goal of 1.5 fledglings per pair for piping plover recovery established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Aiding in the recovery of threatened or endangered species, like the piping plover, is a key component of DNREC’s wildlife conservation mission,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “With a third record-breaking year for piping plover fledglings, these small endangered beach nesters are on their way to becoming one of Delaware’s conservation success stories.”

Five pairs of piping plovers nested at the Point at Cape Henlopen State Park and 16 pairs nested at Fowler Beach on Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. For the fourth year in a row, piping plovers did not nest at Gordons Pond within Cape Henlopen State Park, possibly due to the combined factors of encroaching vegetation limiting sandy nesting habitat and the availability of more attractive nesting habitat at Fowler Beach.

The piping plover is a federally-listed threatened species and a Delaware state-listed endangered species. Recovery of the species involves partnerships between DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and Division of Parks and Recreation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Wildlife Services.

In other beach nesting bird updates, two pairs of American oystercatchers nested at the Point at Cape Henlopen State Park and two pairs nested at Delaware Seashore State Park, but none successfully hatched chicks. Fifty-nine least tern nests were found, 24 at Cape Henlopen State Park and 35 at Fowler Beach on Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge that collectively produced eight fledglings.

During beach nesting bird monitoring this year, the Division of Fish and Wildlife implemented COVID-19 safety precautions to protect staff and the public while working to conserve Delaware’s wildlife.

For more information, visit piping-plovers and other beach nesting birds.

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

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More Delmarva Fox Squirrels Moving to Delaware

Delmarva fox squirrels are about to get a population boost in Delaware with a new round of translocations planned for later this month, a project of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and its state and federal partners. Although this charismatic squirrel was once a federally-listed endangered species, translocations, habitat management and land protection have helped regional Delmarva fox squirrel populations to recover, resulting in the species being removed from the federal endangered species list in 2015.

Delmarva fox squirrels are now abundant on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, but these large, silver-gray squirrels remain rare in Delaware, with only two known populations in the state. Unlike many of its squirrel relatives, the Delmarva fox squirrel is very slow to expand its range and colonize new territories. To help speed the return of this species to more locations in Delaware, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife is planning to translocate squirrels from robust populations in Maryland to unoccupied suitable habitats in southern Delaware.

In 2014, the Division developed a Delmarva Fox Squirrel Conservation Plan in collaboration with stakeholders, to increase the number of Delmarva fox squirrels in Delaware. After monitoring and researching the feasibility and methods for reintroduction, the plan is now being implemented. Squirrels captured from Dorchester County, Md., will be released into the Assawoman Wildlife Area in southeastern Sussex County starting in mid-September 2020.

Translocations have proven to be an important and effective tool for increasing the distribution of this species and are the cornerstone of the Delmarva Fox Squirrel Conservation Plan. Since they are no longer a federally-listed endangered species, landowners should not be concerned if they start seeing Delmarva fox squirrels on their property. Hunting of Delmarva fox squirrels is prohibited, so it is important that hunters note the differences between them and the more commonly seen eastern gray squirrels, for which Delaware has a hunting season.

For more information about this project, including photographs comparing Delmarva fox squirrels and eastern gray squirrels and answers to frequently asked questions, or to report sightings, visit the Delmarva fox squirrel web page. Video of squirrels being moved is posted on DNREC’s YouTube channel.

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

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