Contact: Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.
Available grants highlighted at Delaware municipalities’ workshop
Funding is in support of Delaware’s Watershed Implementation Plan goals
BRIDGEVILLE (March 12, 2013) – “Action Today for Tomorrow’s Healthy Water” was the focus of a day-long workshop for municipalities that lie within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed in Delaware. The workshop, developed by DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship, highlighted funding opportunities and the cooperative actions local town officials can take to improve water quality of local waterways and manage associated water issues, such as stormwater runoff, within their communities.
“Thanks to the hard work and ongoing efforts of our local governments, Delaware has committed significant resources to reducing pollutants from reaching our local waterways,” said Frank Piorko, DNREC Director of the Division of Watershed Stewardship. “Restoring water quality is a process that will continue well into the future, but over the past year, we have made progress toward meeting water quality goals by reducing pollutants in wastewater discharges and controlling stormwater runoff and flooding in our communities.”
The workshop brought together mayors, council members, city managers, planners and engineers from Middletown, Greenwood, Bridgeville, Seaford, Laurel and Bethel, along with state legislators, consultants, county and state government agencies, and partner organizations that included: Delaware Nature Society; Nanticoke Watershed Alliance; Delaware State Parks; Delaware Center for Horticulture; Delaware Forest Service; University of Delaware Cooperative Extension; Institute for Public Administration and Sea Grant; and Delaware Technical and Community College.
The workshop highlighted progress in the past year that includes working with local governments to offer grants and loans that assist with master planning, wastewater facility improvement, stormwater best management practices and strategies for nutrient reduction at the homeowner level. Funding large infrastructure upgrades and maintenance for wastewater treatment and stormwater management continue to be among the highest priorities and challenges facing local communities.
A list of funding sources, including DNREC’s Clean Water State Revolving Loan Program, Delaware Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service Chesapeake Bay Program, and USDA Rural Development’s Central Wastewater Systems Program, was provided to the towns and is available on DNREC’s website, by clicking Funding opportunities for municipalities in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
In addition, Delaware’s progress in meeting the milestone goals of Delaware’s Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) was presented, along with status updates on related regulatory efforts. New planning tools and technology currently in development that will minimize the burden of meeting WIP goals was also featured.
For more information on Delaware Watershed Implementation Plan and the efforts underway to restore local waterways that drain into the Chesapeake Bay, visit Delaware‘s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan or contact Jennifer Walls at Jennifer.Walls@state.de.us or 302-739-9939.
More than 90 percent of Delaware’s waters are considered impaired and do not meet water quality standards for uses such as fishing and swimming. Those impaired waters, include the streams and rivers located in Delaware’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Many of these waters are prized, such as the Nanticoke and Broad Creek, Marshyhope, Chester and Choptank Rivers. Additionally, the ground-waters that feed these streams are a source of drinking water for residents living in the watershed and a source of irrigation water for local farmers.
As a requirement of Delaware’s Watershed Implementation Plan, the long-range plan for reducing pollutants from entering local waterways that lie within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Delaware has developed two-year milestones to assess the progress in meeting restoration goals and track the pace of reducing the state’s respective nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment contributions to the Chesapeake Bay. Delaware’s 2012-2013 milestones continue to decrease pollutant loads so that the state will be on track to achieve 60 percent of the reductions by 2017.