Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Slaughter Beach unveils new Bayshore signage highlighting shorebirds, horseshoe crabs, terrapins and wildlife habitat
The Bay beach town and Bayshore hub receives National Wildlife Federation’s
Community Wildlife Habitat designation for commitment to conservation
SLAUGHTER BEACH, Del. (May 30, 2015) – Town of Slaughter Beach officials and residents gathered with DNREC Secretary David Small, National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Collin O’Mara, state legislators and representatives from the Delaware Nature Society and the Alliance of Bay Communities to celebrate Slaughter Beach’s new designation as a National Wildlife Federation-certified Community Wildlife Habitat. Secretary Small also unveiled new Bayshore signage highlighting the community and its wildlife.
“Through the Delaware Bayshore Initiative, we continue to build on Delaware’s reputation as a unique and beautiful natural resource, and to encourage more Delawareans and visitors to enjoy our state as a world-class birding and wildlife-watching destination,” said Governor Jack Markell. “I commend the Slaughter Beach community for their conservation efforts and congratulate them on their well-earned designation as a National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat.”
“Since we launched the Bayshore Initiative here in Slaughter Beach in 2012, we have worked closely with our conservation partners in Bayshore communities to further the initiative’s goals, including restoring and protecting fish and wildlife habitat,” said Secretary Small. “Slaughter Beach is an exemplary model of how Bayshore communities can incorporate habitat stewardship into their backyards and open spaces, and it serves well as a great hub for the Delaware Bayshore and its natural treasures.”
“The community of Slaughter Beach is proud and pleased with the town being designated a Wildlife Habitat Community by the National Wildlife Federation as well as dedicating our new educational welcome sign with information and pictures of the many shorebirds that visit and feast on the horseshoe crab eggs,” said Slaughter Beach Mayor Bill Krause. “Much thanks to the many people and organizations who have come together to make all of this happen. I’d especially like to thank the Delaware Nature Society, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and the Division of Fish & Wildlife for helping with the certification process, and the Delaware Bayshore team for all their hard work on the sign. Lastly, to those who haven’t come to our corner of the Bayshore, or who haven’t been here lately, I’d like to invite you to come and visit our town park, pavilion and beach, to enjoy and to learn.”
The new full-color interpretive signage welcoming visitors to the Delaware Bayshore and the Town of Slaughter Beach has been installed beside the town pavilion under a protective roof and on a base of pavers. It features a detailed guide to the shorebirds found on Slaughter Beach; facts about the Atlantic horseshoe crab including how to “flip” them; the spring migration of shorebirds and fall migration of monarch butterflies, and a cautionary tale of avoiding terrapins in the road. The signage also highlights Slaughter Beach’s location in the heart of Delaware’s Bayshore, an area known nationally and internationally for hosting the spring spectacle of spawning horseshoe crabs and migrating shorebirds including federally-threatened red knots that depend on horseshoe crab eggs to help fuel their 9,000-mile journey. Also included is the town’s recognition as a horseshoe crab sanctuary by the Ecological Research and Development Group’s Backyard Stewardship Program, and as a National Wildlife Federation-certified Community Wildlife Habitat.
Signage content development, printing and fabrication as well as the structure were funded by Bayshore Bond funds and Natural Resource Damage Assessment funds available through DNREC to Bayshore towns impacted by a 2006 oil spill from the cargo ship Bermuda Islander. Slaughter Beach also received a grant from Sussex County for the pavers and landscaping. The state Office of Management and Budget provided design services at no charge to DNREC and photographs were donated by Ken Arni, Chris Bennett, Bill McSpadden, Holly Niederriter and Tony Pratt.
The National Wildlife Federation’s Community Wildlife Habitat program has been helping people take personal action on behalf of wildlife for more than 40 years. The program engages homeowners, businesses, schools, churches, parks and other institutions that want to make their communities wildlife-friendly and create multiple habitat areas in backyards, schoolyards, corporate properties, community gardens, parkland and other spaces. To date, 83 communities nationwide have been recognized with Community Wildlife Habitat certification, with Slaughter Beach as the third community recognized in Delaware.
About the Delaware Bayshore
Widely recognized for its expansive coastal marshes, bay beaches, and agricultural lands and forests, the Delaware Bayshore provides diverse habitat for more than 400 species of birds and wildlife. The Bayshore region encompasses more than 115,000 acres of protected lands from the City of New Castle south to Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes. Included within this network of protected lands are seven state wildlife areas – Augustine, Cedar Swamp, Woodland Beach, Little Creek, Ted Harvey, Milford Neck and Prime Hook – plus the St. Jones Reserve and Blackbird Creek Reserve, which are part of the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, and two national wildlife refuges, Bombay Hook near Smyrna and Prime Hook near Milford. Many other acres are protected by private conservation partners and through the Farmland Preservation Program.
DNREC’s Delaware Bayshore Initiative is a landscape approach to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat, increase volunteer participation in habitat stewardship projects, enhance low-impact outdoor recreation and ecotourism opportunities, and promote associated environmentally compatible economic development. The initiative builds on the state’s longstanding commitment to conserving our coastal zone and on the Delaware Bayshore’s reputation as a unique and beautiful natural resource, worthy of protection.
In 2012, the Initiative received national recognition as one of 100 projects included in the U.S. Department of Interior’s America’s Great Outdoors 50-State Report highlighting some of the country’s most promising ways to reconnect Americans to nature. When the Bayshore Initiative was formally launched in May 2012 in Slaughter Beach, then-U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called the Delaware Bayshore a “landscape of national significance.”
For more information on the Delaware Bayshore Initiative, click Delaware Bayshore.
Vol. 45, No. 174