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Governor’s 2012 Agricultural and Urban
Conservation Award winners honored today
DOVER (April 18, 2012) – The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village was the setting for today’s Stewardship Week proclamation and presentation of the Governor’s Agricultural and Urban Conservation Awards. On behalf of Governor Jack Markell, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin P. O’Mara led a ceremony with Delaware Association of Conservation Districts President Wendy O. Baker recognizing the honorees. Ms. Baker also read a proclamation previously signed by the Governor officially designating April 29 through May 6 as Stewardship Week in Delaware.
“These six honorees are shining examples of how environmental stewardship makes good economic sense and of how we can each take critical steps to protect and enhance soil, water, and air quality in our daily lives,” said Secretary O’Mara. “On behalf of Governor Markell, as well as my own agency and the people of Delaware, we thank all those being honored today for their dedication and for their time, effort, and investment to implement model conservation practices.”
Delaware Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee congratulated the honorees. "These recipients are excellent examples of how Delaware's farmers and landowners work to protect our land and water for future generations," said Secretary Kee. “These good stewards are committed to keeping Delaware strong and healthy.”
This year’s Conservation Award winners and their conservation efforts are:
NEW CASTLE – Agricultural Award
· St. Andrews School, Middletown, Daniel T. Roach, Headmaster
St. Andrews School was recognized for its conservation efforts on the school’s 2,200-acre property. Projects over the past 60 years have included: the dredging of Noxontown Pond around 1984; the implementation of grassed waterways, diversions, and grade control structures to manage water and control erosion; the planting of erosion-blocking filter strips, grasses, and trees on critical areas of the property; the use of conservation tillage and crop rotations; the planting of winter cover crops such as wheat and barley; and the conversion of cropland to hayfields and forestland to help improve water quality and soil conditions by controlling erosion.
In 2005, a 107-acre reforestation project was completed and more recently a riparian buffer adjacent to existing forest lands around Noxontown Pond was planted. The school has also installed a rain garden, controlled invasive species, planted native species and converted lawn into native wildflower meadows. The school is a model for what can be accomplished by working with local, state and federal partners to enhance and conserve agricultural lands, increase wildlife habitat and have a sustainable campus landscape.
NEW CASTLE - Urban Award
· Shone Lumber, Wilmington, John Shone, Owner
Shone Lumber owner, John Shone, was recognized for his efforts to flood-proof his business. The Shone Lumber Company’s retail and warehouse complex in Stanton, which includes a state-of-the-art showroom building, has experienced frequent flooding. The property is located along the White Clay Creek just downstream from its confluence with Red Clay Creek. This facility has flooded for many years and, over the last 10 years, flooding has resulted in millions of dollars in damage, lost business and lost work time.
Mr. Shone retained an engineering firm that specializes in flood mitigation to develop the flood-proofing plan which included the construction and installation of reinforced masonry and concrete floodwalls and an array of specialized floodgates. Mr. Shone worked with the New Castle Conservation District to obtain FEMA grant funds to help pay for the $947,000 project. Forty percent of the cost was paid by the property owner.
As a result of the work by the project team, a longtime Delaware business was able to stay in its historic location without worrying about future flooding impacts to its business. The improvements posed no adverse impacts to the adjacent flood plain. Further, the need for public safety and first responder actions during flooding was significantly reduced or curtailed. This system of barrier floodwalls and rapidly deployable floodgates on entry doors has proven to be a cost effective and reliable flood proofing technique for several other flood-prone properties in New Castle County.
KENT – Agricultural Award
· William Wells, Felton
Mr. Wells owns and operates a dairy operation west of Felton. He manages 150 milking cows and 127 hiefers and tills approximately 350 acres of cropland. Mr. Wells has installed a waste holding tank with a roofed covering, a waste auger, fencing, heavy use protection areas, and roof water management. A comprehensive nutrient management plan was completed for the operation to comply with state and federal confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) regulations. He was recognized for the implementation of the aforementioned conservation practices that will help to improve water quality, reduce nutrient runoff, and conserve energy.
KENT – Urban Award
· Joseph Petrosky, Dover
Mr. Petrosky is being recognized for his participation in a floodplain restoration project and pond enhancement project located at the corners of Governor’s Avenue and Lynnhaven Drive. The project consisted of excavating a broad floodplain channel in an area of historic fills and creating a meandering low flow water quality channel from Pippen Pond. The project also included enhancing the pond banks around Pippen Pond. Mr. Petrosky donated the use of this property for the project. After the project was constructed in the early spring 2011, more than 5,000 wetland plants were planted in the restored areas. The project is part of an ongoing effort by the Kent Conservation District with assistance from the City of Dover to work with landowners in the Puncheon Run Watershed such as Mr. Petrosky to reduce impacts of flooding and to improve water quality.
SUSSEX – Agricultural Award
· Green Acres Farm Inc., the Hopkins Family, Lewes
Green Acres Farm, owned and operated by the Hopkins family, is the largest dairy operation in Delaware, milking 500 of the more than 1,000 head of cows they maintain. The milking operation runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with some of the higher-producing cows being milked three times a day. The Hopkins family also owns and operates a farm creamery that serves the public. Green Acres produces more than 12 million pounds of milk a year that is shipped to Land O’Lakes for pasteurizing, processing, packing and distribution. The Hopkins Family was recognized for the improvements to their manure storage facilities, which will prevent ground and surface water contamination and for working with the Center for Inland Bays and the City of Lewes to install fencing to keep cattle out of a remnant stream to improve water quality.
SUSSEX – Urban Award
· Chris Beckman, Lewes
Chris Beckman has worked for Davis, Bowen & Friedel, Inc. as a resident project representative (RPR) since 2000. Over the years, he has distinguished himself as resident project representative and certified construction reviewer (CCR). Mr. Beckman is well known in the construction community for ensuring that sites remain in compliance with approved Sediment and Stormwater Plans and Regulations. He is very dedicated to ensuring proper sediment and erosion controls and is typically selected for some of the most complicated and environmentally challenging projects because of his expertise. With his vast experience, Mr. Beckman has even been asked to teach portions of the DNREC Certified Construction Review course, specifically the portion regarding site inspections. He was recognized for actions that go above and beyond to assist the delegated agencies and/or the contractor/developer to ensure proper implementation of an approved plan.
Vol. 42, No. 136