delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

05/12/2015 -

It was a hot, dry summer morning. The humidity was low — about 11 percent. "We had a little bit of wind," recalled State Forester Michael Valenti. Then a passing motorist flicked a lit cigarette out of the window of a vehicle.

"It was complete consumption of all fuels," Valenti said. Before that day in April 2005 ended, 200 acres of woods near Millsboro burned to a moonscape of stubble and black. With summers expected to get hotter and drier under Climate Change scenarios, wildfires like the one Valenti described could becoming more common across the nation.

UDaily: McNeil elected distinguished member of American Society of Civil Engineering
05/12/2015 -

Engineering projects don’t happen in a vacuum, and the University of Delaware’s Sue McNeil makes sure her students are aware of the social, psychological, political and economic factors that determine whether and how projects get done. A professor of civil and environmental engineering, McNeil studies how people make decisions about building, rebuilding, or renewing infrastructure like roads, bridges, and wastewater management systems –and how natural disasters and hazards impact those decisions.

UDaily: Delaware Water Resrouces Center celebrates 50th anniversary
05/12/2015 -

More than 50 faculty, staff and students celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Delaware Water Resources Center (DWRC) at the University of Delaware during its annual meeting on April 17 at the Trabant University Center.

UDaily: UD students create app to help area's Christmas tree farmers
05/12/2015 -

An interdisciplinary team of students at the University of Delaware has developed a new app called PocketFarmer designed to help Christmas tree farmers in the region diagnose, identify and mark potentially diseased plants. The PocketFarmer was developed through the Spin In program in UD’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP).

Science: Sea level rise accelerating faster than thought
05/12/2015 -

If you’re still thinking about buying that beach house, think again. A new study suggests that sea levels aren’t just rising; they’re gaining ground faster than ever. That’s contrary to earlier work that suggested rising seas had slowed in recent years.

The result won’t come as a shock to most climate scientists. Long-term records from coastal tide gauges have shown that sea level rise accelerated throughout the 20th century. Models predict the trend will continue. However, previous studies based on satellite measurements—which began in 1993 and provide the most robust estimates of sea level—revealed that the rate of rise had slowed in the past decade compared with the one before.

UDaily: Don Sparks' article in journal Science outlines threats to soil productivity
05/07/2015 -

A group of leading soil scientists, including the University of Delaware’s Donald L. Sparks, has summarized the precarious state of the world’s soil resources and the possible ramifications for human security in a paper published Thursday, May 7, in the journal Science. In a review of recent scientific literature, the article, titled “Soil and Human Security in the 21st Century,” outlines threats to soil productivity — and, in turn, food production — due to soil erosion, nutrient exhaustion, urbanization and climate change.

UDaily: Students develop proposals to help Goodwill reduce waste, create jobs
05/07/2015 -

Goodwill Industries of Delaware and Delaware County relies on donations of clothing and household items to achieve its primary mission of creating jobs, but not all of those goods find buyers in the nonprofit organization’s retail stores.

In fact, Goodwill’s warehouse near New Castle, Delaware, contains 6-7 million pounds of unsold clothing at any given time — clothing that will end up packed into huge bundles and sold at a low per-pound price to companies that ship the bales overseas. International markets fluctuate widely, and every bulk sale is a financial hit for the organization, which works to improve the lives of people who have barriers to self-sufficiency.

UDaily: New forested wetland planted on UD's Newark Farm
05/06/2015 -

The University of Delaware chapter of Ducks Unlimited assisted the Landmark Science and Engineering firm in putting trees back in place and adding an array of native plants in a new wetland mitigation area on UD’s Newark Farm on April 10.

05/05/2015 -

Behind his Bear Crossing house and past the backyard where his 2-year-old daughter plays, Evan Grabowski has a clear picture of America's flourishing domestic oil business. Most days, an idling Norfolk Southern Corp. locomotives sits, with a mile-long chain of tank cars full of highly valuable – but also volatile – crude-oil in tow.

UDaily: UD researchers, Japanese colleague work to correlate raindrop size to forest ecology
05/05/2015 -

For many people, the well-known childhood rhyme “April showers bring May flowers” heralds the arrival of spring and conjures up images of warm weather, soaking rains and flowers bursting into bloom. But for Sean Hudson, a University of Delaware graduate student studying forest hydrology, April showers lead to science — specifically the science of raindrops.