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Delaware Coastal Programs FAQ


What is the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve?
The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) is one of 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRs) across the country for the purpose of long-term research and monitoring, education, and stewardship of our nation's coasts and estuaries. Established by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, the reserve system is a partnership program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the coastal states. NOAA provides funding, national guidance and technical assistance. Each reserve is managed on daily basis by a lead state agency or university, with input from local partners. In Delaware, the lead state agency is the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

The DNERR is comprised of two sites: the St. Jones Reserve, located six miles south of Dover on Kitts Hummock Road. The other is the Blackbird Creek Reserve, which is east of Townsend along Blackbird Landing Road. The St. Jones facilities house the DNERR offices, classroom space, conference rooms, laboratories, and exhibits. A one-mile trail, with ¼ mile boardwalk over the salt marsh, connects the St. Jones with the adjacent Ted Harvey Wildlife Area. The Blackbird Creek Reserve boasts several miles of trails through uplands and along the marsh and a canoe/kayak launch.

How do I obtain a Federal Consistency Certification for my project?
Federal Consistency Certifications are required as a part of the permitting process for all federal permits, licenses and approvals, as well as direct Federal actions and federally-funded projects. Applicants for a Federal Consistency Certification must ensure that the project is consistent with the policies of the Delaware Coastal Programs and submit a "Statement of Consistency", an analysis of policies and pertinent background material to the Delaware Coastal Programs office for public notice and review. For detailed instructions, staff contact numbers and policy guidance, click here.

What is Special Area Management Planning?
A Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) is a comprehensive plan that provides for natural resource protection and reasonable coastal-dependent economic growth. The Special Area Management Plan process is a cornerstone of the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972.

Coastal managers use Special Area Management Planning as a tool when a coastal problem or issue cannot be addressed by existing local, state, and federal policies. Resolution to issues such as water quality, resource protection, conflicting water uses, habitat protection and sustainable development, require the cooperation and long-term participation of affected citizens, business persons, advocacy groups and governmental agencies. The benefit of the SAMP process is an increased understanding of the issue and includes better resource protection, tailored regulations, more predictability in governmental decision making, as well as improved relationships between stakeholders and regulators.

The Delaware Coastal Programs has developed two SAMPs: The Pea Patch Island Heronry Region SAMP and the South Wilmington SAMP.

How do I volunteer for Horseshoe Crab Spawning surveys?
Planning for the Annual Baywide Horseshoe Crab Spawning Survey begins in March of each year. If you are interested in assisting the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve survey the beaches of Kitts Hummock, Ted Harvey Wildlife Area, and North Bowers, please call the DNERR Volunteer Coordinator at 302-739-6377.

How do I register for public programs?
You may register for the public programs at the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve by calling the Education Coordinator at 302-739-6377.

Where is Delaware’s Coastal Zone? Are there limits to development in the Coastal Zone?
Delaware has two Coastal Zones: one as defined by the Delaware Coastal Zone Act and one defined by the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act. As defined by the State Coastal Zone Act, the Coastal Zone is a strip of coastal land, generally to the east of Route 9 and bordering the C&D Canal and Inland Bays. Under the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act, the Coastal Zone is the entire State of Delaware. Construction or expansion of industrial and manufacturing facilities is regulated within the State Coastal Zone. Within the Federal Coastal Zone, all applicants for Federal licenses, permits and approvals, funding and direct federal activities are required to obtain a Federal Consistency Certification.


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