Contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC releases 2015 Delaware Wetland Management Plan
with goals for prioritizing research, conservation and education
DOVER (Nov. 4, 2015) – Delaware’s wetlands continue to face threats such as pollution, sea level rise and changing climates and landscapes. To address these challenges and help protect the valuable natural resources and the many health and safety benefits that wetlands provide, DNREC and the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s (DDA) Forest Service have developed the 2015 Delaware Wetland Management Plan. The plan is a guiding tool for prioritizing research, education, management and conservation needs of Delaware’s wetland resources by state agencies and environmental conservation groups.
The Delaware Wetland Management Plan was created through collaborative effort between five DNREC divisions – Energy & Climate, Fish & Wildlife, Parks & Recreation, Waste & Hazardous Substances and Watershed Stewardship, plus DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs – and the DDA’s Forest Service. The plan, compiled by DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program, gathered input from more than 50 scientists and wetland experts, including a stringent review of Delaware’s wetland programs. In compiling it, consideration was given to current and anticipated threats to the state’s wetlands. The result was 45 action items grouped toward addressing seven major goals of the management plan: mapping, monitoring, climate adaptation, restoration, collaboration, education and conservation.
“With one-quarter of Delaware’s land area consisting of wetlands, from forested ponds, to salt marshes, to bald cypress swamps, residents and visitors are never more than a mile away from these important habitats,” said Alison Rogerson, DNREC Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program leader. “As stewards of these rich resources, it’s our task to slow the loss of wetland acreage, improve the health of the state’s remaining wetlands and work together to better understand and articulate the value of wetlands. This plan promotes collaboration, and serves as an aide for state, county, federal, private, non-profit and academic groups involved with Delaware’s wetlands.”
Action items called for in the wetland management plan are designed to be easily adopted by wetland programs across the state. Goals and action items also can be used as project justification when seeking funding for conserving wetlands. Further, the plan fulfills some objectives of a comprehensive statewide freshwater wetland strategy, which Delaware continues working toward. High priority items include updating wetland mapping resources for public use; achieving stronger freshwater wetland conservation, and getting a preemptive handle on how climate change and sea level rise will impact Delaware’s wetlands.
DNREC and DDA had previously collaborated on the 2008 Delaware Wetland Conservation Strategy, using wide stakeholder input to identify areas of management concern and research needs for wetlands. Over the past eight years, progress has been made on many of the goals and action items, resulting in new partnerships that emphasize project-sharing to improve wetland conservation.
The 2015 Delaware Wetland Management Plan also lends itself to positive outcomes through collaboration and cooperation among wetland conservation groups. One such opportunity that both encourages and enables information sharing is the 2016 Delaware Wetlands Conference next February 3-4 which is open to all sectors of wetland professionals. Both the Delaware Wetland Management Plan and the upcoming wetlands conference are made possible by a regional grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
For more information on the plan, please email Alison Rogerson or call 302-739-9939.
Vol. 45, No. 378