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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : Division of Fish & Wildlife : Wildlife Species Conservation & Research Program : Wildlife Species Conservation & Research Program Projects (WSCRP)

 Wildlife Species Conservation & Research Program Projects (WSCRP)

Piping Plover ProgramPiping Plover - photo by Richard Kuzminski
www.fw.delaware.gov/volunteers/pages/pipingplover
 
The Piping Plover Program monitors and protects breeding areas of piping plovers in Delaware. Currently, the only site in Delaware where piping plovers breed is at Cape Henlopen State Park. The program also uses volunteers to help educate visitors to the park about the natural history of the piping plover and to explain the importance of respecting the areas of the park that have been closed to protect breeding plovers from human disturbance.
 
For more information, contact Matthew Bailey at 302-735-8677 or matthew.bailey@state.de.us.

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Bat Research and MonitoringBig Brown Bats - photo by Gary Cooke, DNREC
www.fw.delaware.gov/bats 
 
Bats in North America have been facing an unprecedented disaster. A disease called White-nose Syndrome is reducing some bat species to mere fragments of their previous numbers. A fungus associated with the disease appears to be causing bats to awaken from hibernation often enough to deplete their winter fat reserves, resulting in their premature death. Although Delaware doesn't have any large hibernacula where this disease is likely to thrive, many of our sumer bats migrate from affected areas and our bat populations ill be impacted. Biologists have been conducting surveys to determine how this crisis will impact Delaware's bats and to help in the effort to control the disease. You can help by volunteering to assist biologists with counting bats!
 
For more information, contact Sarah Brownlee-Bouboulis 302-735-8669 or sarah.bouboulis@state.de.us.

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Bog Turtle - photo by Bill Langworthy, DNRECBog Turtles
 
The bog turtle (Glyptemmys mulenbergii) is a small, semi-aquatic turtle that inhabits freshwater wetland habitats that have soft muck and pedestal vegetation. Unfortunately, the species is in trouble due to loss of habitat, wetland alteration and illegal collection for the pet trade. There are only two known locations in Delaware where bog turtles are reproducing. In order to keep them from disappearing entirely, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed them as federally threatened in 1997. The Delaware Wildlife Species Conservation & Research Program has been monitoring bog turtles since 1992 and monitors known sites to keep track of population status and surveys new habitats to see if bog turtles are present. The Division of Fish & Wildlife also works with landowners with bog turtle habitats to encourage bog turtle populations by maintaining optimal vegetation and habitat quality.
 
For more information, contact Holly Niederriter at 302-735-8670 or holly.niederriter@state.de.us.

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Delmarva Fox SquirrelDelmarva Fox Squirrels
 
Delmarva fox squirrels inhabit older growth woodlands with open understories (not much vegetation at ground level) and closed canopies (trees keep most sunlight from hitting the forest floor). Habiat loss is believed to be the primary reason this species is listed as endangered, but over-hunting in the 19th and 20th centuries may have also contributed to their decline. The DE WSCRP is monitoring the two known Delmarva fox squirrel populations in Delaware - one at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and one at the Nanticoke Wildlife Area. Biologists are surveying for new populations and possible expansions of the current populations. They are also working on a plan to increase the distribution of the species in Delaware to make them a more common species.
 
For more information, contact Holly Niederriter at 302-735-85670 or holly.niederriter@state.de.us.

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Delaware Amphibian Monitoring Program (DAMP)Green Frog - photo by Lynne Staub, DNREC
www.fw.delaware.gov/volunteers/pages/damp.aspx 
 
The sound of frogs calling in the night is more than just a sign of spring's arrival. Frog and toad calls can also be an important way to determine where different species occur and how populations are doing over time. Because most amphibians need both aquatic and upland habitats, they can serve as important indicators of water quality and other aspects of environmental health. Concern over declines in amphibian populations has prompted the initiation of amphibian monitoring programs throughout North America and around the world. Volunteers with the Delaware Amphibian Monitoring Program (DAMP) conduct nighttime surveys of calling frogs and toads around the state each year. Volunteers are assigned a driving route in one portion of the state, and conduct surveys along that route. DAMP volunteers have been surveying calling frogs and toads in Delaware since 1997.
 
For more information, contact Vickie Henderson at 302-735-8651 or vickie.henderson@state.de.us.

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Red Knots and Horseshoe Crabs - photo by Kevin KalaszDelaware Shorebird Project
www.fw.delaware.gov/shorebirds

The Delaware Shorebird Project works to protect migratory and nesting shorebirds through the implementation of the Delaware Shorebird Conservation Plan. A major emphasis is monitoring migratory shorebirds while they stop over in the Delaware Bay on their way to their Arctic nesting grounds. This short stopover is critcal for their successful migration as they are completely dependent on the abundance of horseshoe crab eggs - their primary food source. The goals of the Delaware Shorebird Project are to gain a better understanding of population dynamics, habitat use, and the overall health and condition of shorebirds. Data collected is used to help make horseshoe crab harvest regulations and to identify and implement shorebird conservation actions.

For more information, contact Kevin Kalasz at 302-735-8667 or kevin.kalasz@state.de.us.  

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Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas
www.fw.delaware.gov/bba
DE Breeding Bird Atlas
The 2nd Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA) is a five year survey of all birds that nest in Delaware. Volunteers survey and monitor all nesting birds in Delaware between 2008 and 2012 to assess distribution across the state, repeating a similar survey completed between 1983 and 1987. Delaware is divided into 265 "atlas blocks" (each approximately 10 square miles) and volunteers apply breeding codes to bird observations to indicate the level of confidence that a species is breeding. Data are collected and reported to the USGS/Patuxent Wildlife Research Center's BBA Explorer Program

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Osprey - photo by Chuck FullmerCitizen Osprey Monitoring Program
www.fw.delaware.gov/volunteers/pages/comp.aspx  

The Citizen Osprey Monitoring Program allows volunteers to assist with data collection by monitoring osprey platforms and nests near their home or workplace. All data is analyzed by WSCRP Program staff and adds to a better understanding of osprey arrival dates, nest success and other aspects of osprey biology in the state. This knowledge also enhances the state's surveys and supports conservation decisions for ospreys. 

For more information, contact Kate Fleming at 302-735-8658 or kate.fleming@state.de.us.

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