CONTACT: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC YouTube Channel video delves into
Delaware’s ancient dunes and sand ridge forests
DOVER (Jan. 7, 2015) – DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife conservation staff and volunteers began working five years ago restore a four-acre ancient sand ridge forest in the Nanticoke Wildlife Area, comprising ancient sand dunes largely populated by oak and pine trees. Progress of the dune restoration work is featured in a new DNREC YouTube Channel video that began airing this week.
Restoration work has included clearing and thinning large canopy trees, propagation and planting of native sand ridge plant species, monitoring planted and newly grown plant species across the ridgeline and surveying for evidence of rare insect species. The project’s goal, as detailed in the new video by DNREC botanist Bill McAvoy, is to reestablish habitat for species such as the frosted elfin, a rare butterfly that depends on wild lupine and wild indigo, both plants primarily found in Delaware's ancient sand ridge forests.
Ancient sand ridge forests are identified as Habitats of Conservation Concern in Delaware’s Wildlife Action Plan. The new DNREC video shows that these habitats consist of sand ridges or dunes that occur along the southern and eastern shores of the Nanticoke River and its tributaries. The sand ridges are remnants of ancient dunes that formed through glacial movements thousands of years ago.
These communities have suffered over the centuries from logging, conversion to pine plantations, natural succession, fire suppression and disturbances, including off-road vehicles and deer browse. Restoration and/or enhancement of this habitat is crucial to many of Delaware’s species of greatest conservation need as listed in the Delaware Wildlife Action Plan.
Vol. 45, No. 4