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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : News : Town of Bethel receives $100,000 grant for innovative green infrastructure

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Contact: Jennifer Walls or Philip Miller, Division of Watershed Stewardship, 302-739-9939; or Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

         Town of Bethel receives $100,000 grant
for innovative green infrastructure
Investments will reduce flooding, manage stormwater runoff
 and enhance livability, while improving water quality of Broad Creek

BETHEL, Del. (July 18, 2014) – The Town of Bethel in Sussex County is getting help to reduce flooding, manage stormwater runoff  and improve the water quality of Broad Creek, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. The town is receiving $100,000 in grant funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) program that will help the community implement innovative green infrastructure and green street practices. The G3 Program is administered by the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

Bethel's grant supports projects that meet the state's goals of the Chespeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), by helping the town implement green infrastructure that improves water quality of the Broad Creek, a tributary of the Nanticoke River and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. The WIP calls for projects that reduce pollution from stormwater runoff and stabilize stream banks.

Governor Jack Markell was among the region’s Governors who last month signed the Chesapeake Bay Agreement that will guide and accelerate restoration and conservation efforts of the Bay’s six-state watershed. “By federal, state and local partners working together, we are securing the resources necessary to improve water quality of our Chesapeake Bay tributaries,” said Gov. Markell. “This grant advances Bethel’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed protection efforts and the local economy through projects that reduce stormwater pollution, create green jobs and enhance the town’s quality of life. I congratulate Bethel on their innovative projects and commitment to greening their community and restoring clean water.”

Located on the banks of Broad Creek west of Laurel, Bethel has an important historic connection to the Chesapeake Bay, as a center of shipbuilding and maritime repairs. The tiny town of fewer than 200 residents offers views of waterways and green open spaces, while Bethel’s natural, historic, and cultural qualities on the Western Sussex Scenic and Historic Highway make it a haven for biking, hiking, pleasure driving and other recreational activities. The entire municipality, which is only 0.4 square miles, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

"This grant will help fund projects that ultimately improve the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, bringing us another step closer to our goal of clean water," Sen. Tom Carper said. "Improving the environment by preventing stormwater runoff is critically important to the watershed. These investments in green infrastructure are also vital for our local economies. I am proud to see local, state and federal partners once again working together to improve water quality."

"Protecting the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries is imperative to our quality of life and our precious natural resources," said Sen. Chris Coons. "It's fantastic news that the town of Bethel was awarded this $100,000 grant from the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns program in order to reduce nutrients and sediment from entering the bay's tributaries and help continue to improve water quality of our local waterways."

 “This grant is a great investment in the future of our state, with two equally important outcomes – enhancing infrastructure in Bethel, and improving the water quality of Broad Creek and the Chesapeake Bay. I congratulate Bethel’s residents, and look forward to following this project’s development,” said Congressman John Carney.

Currently, Bethel lacks sufficient stormwater controls. The few existing stormwater catch basins simply capture runoff that would otherwise impinge against bridge abutments and discharge it directly into Broad Creek without the benefit of treatment. The G3 grant supports the installation of drainage and stormwater controls that will reduce flooding and pollution, while helping to make the community greener.

“Investing in green infrastructure and green street practices is a cost effective, environmentally-sound solution that will not only reduce flooding and help restore water quality, but foster healthy communities by greening streetscapes, improving air quality and providing other quality of life benefits,” said DNREC Secretary David Small. “I salute the Town of Bethel and its leadership for proactively working, along with its state legislators, Sen. Bob Venables and Rep. Tim Dukes, to improve water quality.”

 “EPA is encouraged to see the Town of Bethel taking these innovative actions that our changing climate demands,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Investments in green infrastructure are critical in efforts to help our economy, protect the environment and reduce carbon pollution.”

The G3 Program is managed and funded in part by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, with both EPA and Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources serving as funding partners. “Through our G3 grant program partnership, the Chesapeake Bay Trust works with cities and towns throughout the watershed that are looking for solutions to manage stormwater runoff while enhancing their community’s livability,” said Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “We applaud the Town of Bethel for undertaking this project and we look forward to working with them as implementation begins.”

 Bethel, with its shipbuilding heritage and its current active agricultural community, has always been a diligent custodian of our historic and natural assets. Our town council and residents have been actively engaged in every aspect of the planning and design of the green infrastructure and green street projects,” said Town Council President Jeff Hastings. “The Town of Bethel would like to thank the Environmental Protection Agency and the Chesapeake Bay Trust for this funding that will help our town install stormwater controls, reduce flooding and improve water quality of Broad Creek.”

Bethel’s G3 grant complements the town’s 2012 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF)
Local Government Capacity Building Initiative grant that was used to develop green infrastructure design and construction plans for projects that address the flooding and stormwater runoff problems in the town. The NFWF grant funded the survey and design of Phase 1 in Historic Bethel. Additional funding was provided through the State of Delaware Surface Water Matching Planning Grant program for the survey and design of Phase 2 projects. Prioritizing the areas to be targeted for retrofits included extensive public outreach by community officials, residents and property owners through several town meetings and “sidewalk” discussions.

The G3 grant will be used to help Bethel construct and install several projects in two phases. Total cost of the projects is expected to be more than $450,000. The town is seeking additional funding to complete both phases.

Phase I:
A series of bioretention areas, or rain gardens, will be installed that will reduce stormwater runoff and drainage concerns. Filterra trees boxes, which collect and treat stormwater runoff, will be placed throughout the town, including the intersection of Main and Vine Streets, which floods regularly. The tree box will pipe the overflow of flood waters to the bioretention gardens. In addition, curbed streetscape islands will be installed with native plantings and stone borders to prevent water and sediment from draining into Broad Creek.

Bioretention gardens will also be constructed along Vine Street where water naturally collects. Property owners along the street have committed to maintaining the gardens, which will feature a combination of plantings, including a flowering aster found in several existing gardens and yards throughout the town.

Phase II:
A living shoreline is proposed along Broad Creek where the existing shoreline has eroded over the years due to stormwater runoff. This 325-foot shoreline will replace an existing shoreline and may include reinforcing concrete riprap and selectively removing invasive plants, such as multiflora rose, while keeping fallen trees as habitat for wildlife, including turtles, fish, eagles and ospreys. A vegetative buffer including wildlife-friendly plants, such as blue flag iris and jewelweed, may be planted.

For the construction phase, this project will employ local contractors and landscapers. The construction is estimated to take place over a 4-month period, beginning in late winter or early spring 2015.

Information on Delaware’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Plan, can be found on DNREC’s website by clicking  here. For information on the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns grant program, please visit

Vol. 44, No. 245

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