Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Governor’s 2014 Agricultural and Urban
Conservation Award winners honored
Delaware Association of Conservation Districts also honors Legislator of the Year
DOVER (April 23, 2014) – The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village was the setting for today’s Stewardship Week proclamation reading and presentation of the annual Governor’s Agricultural and Urban Conservation Awards. On behalf of Governor Jack Markell and DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara, DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship Director Frank Piorko led a ceremony with Delaware Association of Conservation Districts 1st Vice President Robert Emerson recognizing the honorees. Director Piorko also read a proclamation signed by the Governor officially designating April 27 through May 4 as Stewardship Week in Delaware under the theme, “DIG DEEPER: Mysteries in the Soil.”
“These six honorees are wonderful and diverse examples of how we can all be better environmental stewards by taking thoughtful, important actions to protect and enhance our soil, water and air quality,” said Director Piorko. “Whether a specific project or a lifetime of conservation, the individuals receiving acknowledgement today possess a continuing commitment to environmental improvement. On behalf of Governor Markell, Secretary O’Mara 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. I also want to thank all of the Conservation District employees and supervisors for the many valued contributions they make to improve the quality of life in Delaware.”
Delaware Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee congratulated the honorees. “The recipients this year are all excellent stewards of our state. Their daily work proves their commitment to protecting our land and water for future generations,” said Secretary Kee. “They are fine examples of how our farmers, equine owners and landowners protect our heritage and keep our agricultural tradition strong.”
This year’s Conservation Award winners are:
NEW CASTLE – Agricultural Award: Filasky’s Produce, Middletown, John, Cindi and Johnny Filasky, owners
Filasky’s Produce is a family-owned vegetable growing and farm market located on the family’s farm near Middletown in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. They own 65 acres, 55 tillable, and rent an additional 25 acres for crop production. Through hard work and sound conservation practices, the Filaskys are well-known for their fresh vegetables, especially sweet corn, as well as for farm-related public educational efforts through school visits to the farm. They also have hosted the highly popular “Community Day on the Farm” event and are long-time supporters of the Future Farmers of America program.
The Filasky farm is considered a model farm, with many conservation best management practices installed to control soil erosion and protect water quality, including grass filter strips in all their fields around stream borders, and a grassed waterway to manage and control water runoff. The Filaskys follow an up-to-date nutrient management plan and use techniques to protect beneficial insects such as honey bees, vital for the pollination of their vegetable crops; they compost leftover and overripe vegetables and spread the compost on their fields to improve the organic content of the soil. They participate in the New Castle Conservation District’s cover crop cost-share program, benefitting soil erosion and nutrient trapping; and plant rye grass strips between the vegetable crops to reduce the effects of wind erosion. The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provided funding through the Farm Bill Environmental Quality Incentive Program for the installation of a micro-irrigation system in the strawberry production fields.
NEW CASTLE - Urban Award: University of Delaware, Newark
The University of Delaware is currently constructing a 140,000-square-foot, three- and four-story dining and residential facility, with an 1,100-seat dining area and accommodations for 300 students, on a former parking lot along Academy Street in Newark. The design team of Wilmington’s CDA Engineering and Philadelphia-based architect DIGSAU and structural engineer Ewing Cole has worked with UD faculty to incorporate green technology best management practices into the new facility and its site improvements: a green roof system, living roof design, and major offsite utility infrastructure including steam/condensate, chilled water, telecommunication, and 15KV electric.
CDA’s design incorporates two different types of green roofs from American Hydrotech: an 8-inch thick assembly over the loading dock area and a 24-inch thick intensive assembly over the underground portions of the building, mainly in pedestrian and plaza areas. The loading dock assembly has a shallow growing media “soil” depth to reduce structural weight to the roof below, and a storage tray below the soil media to provide stormwater detention within the loading dock system. The thicker intensive assembly follows the same general concept but has a deeper soil media profile, providing greater water storage and stormwater filtration.
The goal of the green roof over a conventional roof was to displace some of the building’s impervious surface coverage, reduce the “urban heat island” effect, and minimize stormwater runoff from the site, which had little at-grade open space for traditional stormwater management. The innovative use of a dual green roof system provided the storage capacity needed for stormwater management within the relatively small site footprint while also reducing energy demands on the building through the lower temperatures associated with the green roof.
The site also drains into Harrington Pond, which is the regional stormwater management pond for most of the Newark campus. CDA also is working with the UD Water team to retrofit Harrington Pond.
KENT – Urban Award: Teal Construction, Inc., Charles “Chaddy” Reed II, Dover
Under the leadership of Charles “Chaddy” Reed II, Teal Construction has implemented practices to address water quality, erosion and sediment control in their construction projects. The Kent County contractor focused attention to detail on projects such as Waters Edge, Longacre Village, The Estates of Wild Quail, and Laureltowne Subdivisions, ensuring those projects remained in compliance above and beyond their approved Sediment and Stormwater Plans. Working with the Kent Conservation District for planning and construction services and with DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship Drainage Section on planning, Teal also recently completed the Plantation Crossing Drainage Improvement Project to bring welcome drainage relief to residents west of Clayton.
By improving the water quality of the sites, and preventing sediment and pollutant runoff to adjacent properties and waterways, these practices have immeasurable and far-reaching benefits to the quality of life throughout the State. The benefits are improved water quality of all waterways on and downstream of all of these properties, and are essential to the future improvement of Delaware’s impaired waterways. The negative costs to the environment of not addressing these issues are immeasurable.
KENT – Agricultural Award: Bruce B. Clark and Bruce Clark II, Clark Farm, Kenton
Bruce Clark and his son, Bruce Clark II, own a poultry operation that consists of nine poultry houses with a capacity of 196,000 roasters. They grow four flocks per year for Mountaire Farms, Inc., on their 75-acre farm just outside of Kenton. Conservation practices implemented in 2013 on the Clark Farm include a concrete 50’ x 210’ T-wall poultry manure storage structure, a new design which provides more manure storage per square foot with a smaller environmental footprint. The structure also includes an attached 16’ x 28’ lean-to channel composter for dead birds and a concrete heavy use area protection concrete pad. These new structures are designed to address proper storage of manure for improved water quality, manure management, poultry mortality management, waste handling, waste storage and nutrient management environmental concerns.
The Clarks obtained a State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loan through DNREC’s Financial Assistance Branch for materials and construction costs of the structures, and received financial and technical assistance from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through their Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). They also follow a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan developed by the Kent Conservation District to account for the 1,519 tons of manure the operation generates per year.
SUSSEX – Urban Award: Seaford School District
The Sussex Conservation District, the Delaware Nature Society, and the Seaford School District partnered on the design, construction, planting, and outreach effort to construct rain gardens and water features at the four elementary schools in Seaford: Blades, Seaford Central, West Seaford, and Frederick Douglas. Grant funding was provided by DNREC under the Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grant. The intent of the project was to install water quality practices at the schools while creating a school yard habitat that ties into school curriculum and teaches the importance of conservation and stewardship.
The District and Delaware Nature Society coordinated with the Seaford School District on the location, size and construction of the gardens. Roof downspouts from the school were piped into the best management practice to remove additional pollutants before discharging into the schools’ stormwater management system. Delaware Nature Society coordinated with the teachers on incorporating the gardens into the school curriculum as an “outdoor classroom,” and on the continued maintenance of the rain gardens/ponds. The Seaford School District has been very receptive to taking on the responsibility of maintaining these natural areas, enhancement of the school grounds, and acting as stewards of the Chesapeake Bay.
SUSSEX – Agricultural Award: John T. Elliot Jr., Bridgeville
John Elliott of Bridgeville has been a long time cooperator with the Sussex Conservation District. He tills approximately 419 acres of corn, soybeans and small grain, of which 80 acres is irrigated. Elliot is a yearly participant in the District’s cover crop program, planting 233.1 acres in 2013. By participating in the cover crop program, He has helped reduce non-point source pollution by allowing the cover crop to utilize the nutrients left over in the soil from the previous crop. These nutrients can be recycled by the following year’s crop.
Elliot’s nutrient management plan is written by Sussex Conservation District conservation planners. He also participates in USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs. He received cost-share assistance for 10 acres of wildlife plantings on his farm and most recently received an irrigation water management cap plan through NRCS to improve his fields and irrigation program. A conservation-minded farmer, Elliot is an excellent choice for cooperator of the year.
Delaware Association of Conservation Districts honors Legislator of the Year
The Delaware Association of Conservation Districts also recognized State Senator Bruce Ennis as the 2014 Legislator of the Year, an annual award which is given to a legislator for outstanding service, loyalty and devotion to conservation efforts in Delaware. Senator Ennis (D-14th District) has served in the Delaware Legislature representing Kent County since 1982. Currently, he serves on the Agriculture Committee and Joint Finance Committee, and also works with the Kent County Conservation District to ensure the concerns of his constituents are heard and addressed.
Through legislation, Senator Ennis has allocated funds for a number of conservation and drainage projects throughout Kent County over the past year, including: Cowgills Corner – Lessard Drainage Improvement Project; and Hazelwood Tax Ditch, Clayton Avenue in Clayton, Dyke Branch Road, and Hickory Dale Road Resource Conservation and Development Projects. Senator Ennis also has supported funding for a number of conservation and drainage projects through the Kent Conservation District, including Sheffield Farms, Woodland Beach Shoreline Restoration, Clayton West Side Drainage Improvements, East Denney’s Road, and Hatchery Road Resource Conservation and Development Projects. In total, Senator Ennis has also allocated funds for 22 completed conservation and drainage projects through the KCD, and an additional nine that are currently in different phases of planning.
“These projects alone prove Senator Ennis’s level of concern for the needs of his constituents, the natural resources of the state, and his faith in the abilities of the KCD,” said Robert Emerson, 1st Vice President of the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts.
In the early 1990s, then-Representative Ennis was instrumental in the launching of the Dry Fire Hydrant Program and subsequent installation of the hydrants at sites throughout Kent County through the 1st State Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc., a program that is still active today.
Senator Ennis also supports and educates constituents on the Kent Conservation District’s role in conservation, drainage assistance, and stormwater management throughout his Legislative District, and all of Kent County. A lifelong supporter of the FFA, he attends several FFA functions each year, including the FFA Alumni BBQ. Senator Ennis has attended the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts Annual Meeting and attends KCD Legislative Outreach Activities.
Vol. 44, No. 121