delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

07/30/2014 -

Fourth-generation farmer Travis Hastings found a silver lining in Hurricane Arthur's recent brush past Delaware's coast. ¶ The fast-moving tropical system dumped nearly 3 inches on Laurel Airport in two hours on July 4, enough to temporarily break an alarming dry spell and allow a shut-down of the big, pivot irrigation system running on a nearby cornfield.

"Even with that, we've been so dry we were back pumping water on some pivots on Sunday, and most of them by Monday," said Hastings, who farms about 1,500 acres in the area.

UDaily: UD to co-host 2014 Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Conference
07/30/2014 -

The Delaware Water Resources Center (DWRC) at the University of Delaware will be one of several National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) that will co-host the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Conference.

The conference will take place Sept. 24-25 at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

07/30/2014 -

A small shorebird that visits Delaware Bay beaches for only a couple of weeks a year could hold the key to protecting a wide expanse of shoreline and coastal wetland from future mega-storms and rising seas.

The red knot, which stops off at this southern Delaware harbor and other bay beaches on its epic migration from South America to Arctic Canada every spring, is arguably the most important reason that Mispillion Harbor was selected in mid-June for $4.5 million in federal funds for post-Sandy restoration.

The bird, which weighs less than 5 ounces, has been the focus of vigorous conservation efforts since biologists discovered in the early 2000s that its numbers were plummeting because of the over-harvesting of horseshoe crabs, whose eggs are the knot’s favorite food.

Although the population seems to have stabilized in recent years thanks to strict limits on horseshoe crab fishing, the bird now appears to be threatened by rising seas and storms that are eroding beaches and diminishing the crab’s spawning grounds.

UDaily: UD doctoral student conducts research on tick-borne diseases
07/30/2014 -

Delaware has one of the nation’s highest rates of Lyme disease per capita and the University of Delaware’s Solny Adalsteinsson is conducting a study that seeks to identify important ecological factors that contribute to the large number of infections.

Adalsteinsson, a doctoral student in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, is conducting her research as part of the Forest Fragments in Managed Ecosystems (FRAME) study. 

Looking at a group of forest fragments around New Castle County, Adalsteinsson is sampling ticks, mice and birds to determine factors in the forest fragments that influence tick-borne disease transmission and human disease risk.

UDaily: NSF's summer undergraduate research program gets underway at UD
07/30/2014 -

Every year, a handful of universities around the country host prestigious National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs, pairing the best and brightest undergraduate students with research scientists.

This year the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment enters its 27th year as an REU site, welcoming 10 interns to the Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes to conduct research alongside faculty in the School of Marine Science and Policy. 

UDaily: Center shares in federal funding for environmentally sustainable transportation research
07/29/2014 -

The Delaware Center for Transportation (DCT), a research center housed in the University of Delaware’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will share in $5.2 million in federal funding for environmentally sustainable transportation research as part of a regional consortium of universities.

Awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the funding supports research by the newly formed Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability University Center (MATC-UTC) led by University of Virginia. 

UDaily: UD, Mt. Cuba Center research how native plants contribute to healthy ecosystems
07/28/2014 -

The University of Delaware and Mt. Cuba Center have entered into a new research collaboration to assess the ecological value of native plants, and determine if insects are more attracted to ‘store bought’ native plants or plants that grow in the wild.

The project involves two separate studies led by UD’s Doug Tallamy and Deborah Delaney who seek to add ecological value to the list of attributes gardeners should consider when making choices for their gardens and landscapes.

07/25/2014 -

The end of the legislative session earlier this week also marked the end of Collin O’Mara’s time as the head of DNREC.

07/25/2014 -

They rank among the cleanest in the nation: miles of Atlantic Ocean surf at the edge of Delaware beaches that double as resort playgrounds and crowded mainstays for the state's economy.

Yet, this weekend holiday arrives at a pivotal moment as state and local officials look for a new place to daily send up to 3.4 million gallons of treated sewage now pumped from Rehoboth Beach into a canal just off the polluted inland bays.

After years of studies, court battles and debates, the leading option simply calls for pumping the waste about a mile into the ocean off of the north end of Rehoboth Beach, via a $30 million outfall pipe.

07/25/2014 -

May was Earth’s hottest month on record — and as the planet gets warmer, chickens are struggling to adapt. Their body temperatures rise, which leads to higher mortality rates and an increased risk of disease that may threaten global poultry supply in the next decades.

Enter geneticist Carl Schmidt and his team from the University of Delaware, who believe that reducing a chicken’s feather count — making it look bald, basically — will cool it down and reduce health risks.