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Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Nominations sought for Delaware’s 2012 Wetland Warrior
Award honors exemplary efforts that benefit Delaware wetlands

DOVER (May 24, 2012) – Wetlands are directly tied to our quality of life in Delaware, and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is seeking nominations for the 2012 Delaware Wetland Warrior Award to recognize exemplary efforts to protect wetlands and the critical services they provide to all Delawareans.

Information on submitting a nomination can be found on DNREC’s Delaware Wetlands web page. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, June 8. For more information, contact Wetland Outreach Specialist Rebecca Rothweiler at 302-739-9939 or

The Wetland Warrior award is presented annually to a citizen, organization, business or other group that has demonstrated outstanding efforts to benefit Delaware wetlands through outreach and education, monitoring and assessment, or restoration and protection. The award will be presented on Governor’s Day, Thursday, July 26, at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington.

“The award recognizes efforts to help ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the natural services provided by wetlands that contribute to our quality of life including clean water, flood and storm protection, and wildlife habitat,” said Rothweiler. “Wetland Warriors are Delaware’s environmental heroes – who work tirelessly to slow wetland loss, help restore degraded wetlands, preserve habitat, increase awareness of the value of wetlands and bolster support for their protection.”

Past Delaware Wetland Warriors include:

2011: Wayne Lehman and the Workman Brothers
Wayne Lehman is a regional wildlife manager for DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and has championed a number of wetland restoration projects throughout Kent County on State and private lands. Mark and Charles Workman are fourth generation Sussex County farmers who have participated in voluntary wetlands restoration and conservation programs including the USDA’s Wetland Reserve Program and Conservation Reserve Program. 

2010: Peter Martin, Delaware Wild Lands Inc.
Peter Martin led efforts to restore the hydrology and plant communities of the largest freshwater wetland that remains in Delaware, the Great Cypress Swamp near the Maryland line in southern Sussex County. Mr. Martin also served as interim director of Delaware Wild Lands Inc., a non-profit charitable corporation dedicated to purchasing lands for preservation, management, and protection in Delaware.

2009: Al Rizzo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Al Rizzo, a soil scientist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Chesapeake Bay Field Office, was instrumental in restoring thousands of acres of degraded wetlands and former wetlands, in educating the public on the value of wetlands and in training other scientists on innovative techniques.

2008: Indian River School District, Outdoor Education Center
Indian River School District Outdoor Education Center at Ingram Pond improved the future for protection of wetlands in Delaware by educating thousands of students on the value of wetlands, through hands-on monitoring for water quality, studying wildlife interactions and exploring ecosystem dynamics.

Delaware has more than 320,000 acres of wetlands, about 25 percent of the state’s area. Wetlands protect lives and property from the impacts of floods and storms, filter pollutants and improve water quality, reduce erosion and provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife. Almost every part of our state is within one mile of a wetland – making wetland protection vital to our health and safety.

Over the centuries, Delaware’s wetlands have suffered tremendously. Since Delaware was first settled by Europeans in the 1600s, more than half of our original wetlands have been lost, and while much of wetland loss has occurred in years past, it is still happening today – and at an accelerated rate.

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control studies indicate that over the past 15 years, more than 3,896 acres of wetlands were lost due to conversion to other land uses statewide. This acreage is significant because in the previous 10-year period, the total statewide wetland loss was 1,996 acres.

For more information, visit the Delaware Wetlands webpage,

The page includes links to wetland articles published in “Outdoor Delaware” magazine: Secretary O'Mara's “Flooding and Wetlands in Delaware" (how wetlands can protect residents from flooding);and "Standing Up for Wetlands" (how landowners can enroll in voluntary wetland restoration programs).

Check out the How You Can Help web page to learn more about opportunities to protect wetlands. Here you can find the Wetland Public Participation Guidebook, a comprehensive resource developed to inspire citizens to take actions to protect wetlands. Also featured is the latest information on wetland health, wetland loss studies, regulations, wetland impacts and how they can be prevented, and how the public can get involved with local land use decisions that could affect wetlands. A new wetlands video called Purify, Provide, and Protect highlights wetland benefits is also posted on the webpage.

Vol. 42, No. 194

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