Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.
Nominations sought for Delaware’s 2014 Wetland Warrior
Program supports Governor's Clean Water for Delaware's Future Initiative
DOVER (April 2, 2014) – The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is seeking nominations for the 2014 Delaware Wetland Warrior Award to recognize exemplary efforts to protect wetlands and the critical services they provide to all Delawareans.
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 24, at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington.
“Every year wetland stewards work tirelessly to protect Delaware’s natural resources not for profit or gain, but for the satisfaction of conserving one of Delaware’s natural treasures. This award is our way of saying thank you,” said Pletta. “Without the continual work and assistance of Delaware’s Wetland Warriors to slow wetland loss, help restore degraded wetlands, preserve habitat, increase awareness of the value of wetlands and bolster support for protection, wetland protection in Delaware would be nothing compared to what it is today.”
Information on submitting a nomination, as well as more information on past recipients, can be found on DNREC’s Delaware Wetland Warrior Award Webpage. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, June 27. For more information, contact Wetland Outreach Specialist Maggie Pletta at 302-739-9939 or Margaret.Pletta@state.de.us.
Delaware has more than 320,000 acres of wetlands, comprising 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, Pletta said. Almost every part of our state is within one mile of a wetland – making wetland protection vital to our health and safety.
DNREC 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. “These recent trends make recognizing the conservationists who have prioritized wetlands even more important,” Pletta said. “Natural resource stewards such as our Wetland Warriors play a key role in helping Delaware protect its natural treasures.”
The 2013 Wetland Warrior, Terry Higgins, Wesley College Professor Emeritus, was chosen for a lifetime dedicated to restoring and protecting wetlands. He inspired his students to be environmental stewards, both in class and through the school’s environmental club. After retiring he served as Kent County’s volunteer coordinator for DNREC's Adopt-A-Wetland Program, and, working with his family, preserved a 10-acre forested wetland site in the Choptank River Watershed.
Other past recipients have included: Clif Bakhsh, Ducks Unlimited; David Carter, DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs; Wayne Lehman, DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife regional wildlife manager; Sussex farmers Mark and Charles Workman; Peter Martin, Delaware Wildlands; Al Rizzo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Indian River School District’s Outdoor Education Center.
For more information, visit the Delaware Wetlands webpage, http://de.gov/delawarewetlands, or view the nomination announcement.
This program supports Governor Markell’s Clean Water for Delaware’s Future initiative – a comprehensive plan for cleaning up Delaware’s bays, rivers and streams so they meet water quality standards for drinking, swimming and supporting fish and other aquatic life. The plan accelerates a wide range of clean water projects that protect public health and safety, improve water quality, increase the resiliency of Delaware’s communities to storms and flooding, support our multi-billion dollar tourism and agriculture industries, create jobs and bolster the economic revitalization of our towns and cities.
Vol. 44, No. 92