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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : News : 2014 Horseshoe Crab Spawning Survey volunteer training to be offered April 5th and April 10th

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For more information, contact Jennifer Holmes, Delaware Coastal Programs, 302-739-6377; or Melanie Rapp, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

2014 Horseshoe Crab Spawning Survey volunteer training to be offered April 5th and April 10th  

DOVER (April 2, 2014) – The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) is seeking volunteers to assist with the annual bay-wide horseshoe crab spawning survey in May and June on Ted Harvey Wildlife Area, Kitts Hummock and North Bowers beaches.  

For those who are interested in assisting with this year’s survey, DNERR staff will host two volunteer training sessions at the St. Jones Reserve, 818 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. New volunteers and past participants are both strongly encouraged to attend one of the two sessions. 

·         Saturday, April 5th, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

·         Thursday, April 10th, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

Volunteers should register online before the day of each of the training dates by visiting For more information on horseshoe crab monitoring or volunteering at DNERR, contact Jennifer Holmes at 302-739-6377 or

Since 1990, horseshoe crab spawning surveys have been conducted in Delaware Bay. Despite the horseshoe crab’s importance to the ecology of the Bay, little is known about its population status. The data collected by volunteers during these surveys is key for scientists to monitor changes in numbers of spawning crabs in the Bay. Now, every spring on several peak spawning days, volunteers donate their time to count crabs on beaches in Delaware and in New Jersey. Delaware’s well-trained and enthusiastic volunteers have made this program one of the most successful volunteer based wildlife surveys in the country.

Volunteers will learn how to conduct the survey, properly record data and distinguish between male and female horseshoe crabs. The training will also highlight results of horseshoe crab survey data and how it is being used.     

In addition, training participants will be instructed on how to provide preferred dates for survey nights. Participants who are interested in other Delaware Bay beaches not coordinated by DNERR are welcome to attend the training and will be referred to the appropriate beach leader for further information. Volunteers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

2014 Horseshoe Crab Spawning Survey Dates and Times of High Tide

                  Survey Date                                            Time of High Water*

Monday, May 12

8:42 p.m.

Wednesday, May 14

10:10 p.m.

Friday, May 16

11:42 p.m.

Monday, May 26

8:54 p.m.

Wednesday, May 28

10:21 p.m.

Friday, May 30

11:41 p.m.

Wednesday, June 11

8:59 p.m.

Friday, June 13

10:37 p.m.

Monday, June 16

12:19 a.m.(arrive at Reserve Sunday night 6/15)

Wednesday, June 25

9:20 p.m.

Friday, June 27

10:40 p.m.

Sunday, June 29

11:54 p.m.


* Times are for beaches coordinated by the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve only

Please note that the times listed are the high tides for the DNERR coordinated beaches only. The total time commitment per night will range from 2 to 3 hours, depending on how many horseshoe crabs there are to count. Pre-registration is required to assist in the survey. 

For information on horseshoe crab monitoring, volunteer information and more, please visit or find us on Facebook - Delaware NERR. 

The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve is a partnership between the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. DNERR is administered through the Delaware Coastal Programs Section of DNREC’s Office of the Secretary.

This project is part of DNREC’s Bayshore Initiative, a landscape approach to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat, increase volunteer participation in habitat stewardship projects, enhance low-impact outdoor recreation and ecotourism opportunities, and promote associated environmentally compatible economic development. For more information, click Delaware Bayshore.                                                                  

Vol. 44, No. 91

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