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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : News : Volunteer training on 2013 Horseshoe Crab Spawning Survey offered on March 21 and April 6

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Contact:  Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902. 

Volunteer training on 2013 Horseshoe Crab Spawning Survey offered on March 21 and April 6

DOVER (March 11, 2013) – The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) is seeking volunteers to assist with the annual Delaware Bay-wide horseshoe crab spawning survey in May and June on Ted Harvey Wildlife Area, Kitts Hummock and North Bowers beaches.

DNERR staff will host two volunteer training sessions at the St. Jones Reserve, 818 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. All new volunteers are required to attend one of the two sessions and must be 7 years old to participate in the survey. Volunteers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Past participants are strongly encouraged to attend one of the two sessions. 

·         Thursday, March 21st, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

·         Saturday, April 6th, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Register for the training online by visiting, For more information on horseshoe crab monitoring or volunteering at DNERR, contact Jennifer Holmes at 302-739-6377 or

Volunteers will learn how to conduct the survey, how to properly record data and how to distinguish between male and female horseshoe crabs. The training will also highlight results of horseshoe crab survey data and how it is being used.   

In addition, training participants will have first preference for beach and date signups for the DNERR coordinated beaches. Participants who are interested in other Delaware Bay beaches not coordinated by DNERR are welcome to attend the training and will be referred to the appropriate beach leader for further information.

2013 Horseshoe Crab Spawning Survey Dates and High Tide Times

Survey Date                                      Time of High Water*

Tuesday, May 7

8:56 p.m.

Thursday, May 9

10:14 p.m.

Saturday, May 11

11:27 p.m.

Thursday, May 23

8:53 p.m.

Saturday, May 25

10:36 p.m.

Tuesday, May 27

12:21 a.m.

Thursday, June 6

9:11 p.m.

Saturday, June 8

10:26 p.m.

Monday, June 10

11:40 p.m.

Friday, June 21

8:31 p.m.

Sunday, June 21

10:20 p.m.

     Wednesday, June 25

12:06 a.m.

* Times are for beaches coordinated by the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve only

Please note that the times listed are the high tides for the DNERR coordinated beaches only. The total time commitment per night will range from 2 to 3 hours, depending on how many horseshoe crabs there are to count.

Since 1990, surveys have been conducted of horseshoe crabs spawning in Delaware Bay.  Despite the horseshoe crab’s importance to the ecology of the Bay, little is known about its population status. The data collected by volunteers during these surveys is key for scientists to monitor changes in numbers of spawning crabs in the Bay.  Now, every spring on several peak spawning days, volunteers donate their time to count crabs on key beaches in Delaware and in New Jersey. Delaware’s well-trained and enthusiastic volunteers have made this program one of the most successful volunteer based wildlife surveys in the country. 


The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve is a partnership between the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. DNERR is administered through the Delaware Coastal Programs Section of DNREC’s Division of Soil and Water Conservation.

This project is part of DNREC’s Bayshore Initiative, 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. For more information, click
Delaware Bayshore.

Vol. 43, No. 85


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