delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

NSF Highlight: How climate change is impacting marshes
06/07/2011 -

It is a very muddy trek from the small boat to the field site along Raccoon Creek near Bridgeport, N.J. Villanova University marine scientist Nathaniel Weston and his team are all carrying ladders and equipment as they slosh through ankle deep mud toward their experiments. "The whole reason I got into this line of research is because I like being outside, I like coastal estuaries and marsh systems, I like getting muddy, so I have fun with it," says Weston enthusiastically.

NSF Highlight: Air quality worsened by paved surfaces
06/07/2011 -

New research focusing on the Houston area suggests that widespread urban development alters weather patterns in a way that can make it easier for pollutants to accumulate during warm summer weather instead of being blown out to sea. The international study, led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), could have implications for the air quality of fast-growing coastal cities in the United States and other mid-latitude regions overseas. The reason: the proliferation of strip malls, subdivisions and other paved areas may interfere with breezes needed to clear away smog and other pollution.

Roof goes green:  University's first green roof takes root at Colburn Laboratory
06/07/2011 -

The University of Delaware’s first green roof, partially installed on Colburn Laboratory two weeks ago, came about because Annette Shine and her students were too hot to concentrate. Shine, an associate professor of chemical engineering, used to teach in Room 102, in an older section of Colburn with an HVAC system that’s switched between heat and air conditioning twice a year. Invariably, there were unseasonably warm days in fall and early spring when Shine and her students sweltered. It made it hard to focus on chemical engineering problems on the blackboard but one day it got Shine and her teaching assistant, Kathy Phillips, thinking about a different kind of engineering problem – would it be possible to put a green roof over their heads?

Estuary is $10 billion asset:  In economic drought, impact study shows Delaware Estuary is a major asset
06/03/2011 -

In the first economic impact study of the Delaware Estuary in 20 years, researchers from the University of Delaware’s Water Resources Agency (WRA) have found the watershed—which covers 0.2 percent of the continental U.S., yet supplies drinking water to 2 percent of the U.S. population—contributes over $10 billion annually to the region’s economy. Calling the figure “a conservative estimate,” the researchers measured the value of the tidal Delaware River, Delaware Bay and tributaries in three different ways.

06/02/2011 -

At the Kent County Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility today, Governor Jack Markell proposed taking advantage of a partnership opportunity with the federal government to invest in clean water projects that create local jobs, provide long-term water quality benefits, and protect public health and the environment. "You can’t grow a healthy family without clean water.  You also can’t grow a healthy community or a healthy company – whether you're a small or large employer – without a clean, reliable water supply," said Markell.  "Investing in clean water infrastructure will pay significant dividends for Delaware’s economic growth, our environment and the safety of our families, while creating jobs now."

Global issues in nutrient management:  UD to host symposium on nutrient management science, technology, policy
06/01/2011 -

The fourth annual international symposium addressing global issues and trends in nutrient management will be held at the University of Delaware, Aug. 21-24. The symposium focuses on how agricultural management practices, technological advances and global or regional priorities affect both nutrient use efficiency in the food chain, and the quality of our environment in different regions of the world.


Water works:  Create a backyard rain garden and help the region's bays
05/25/2011 -

Want to do your part to help local rivers and bays? Create a backyard rain garden.

It’s fairly easy to build your own rain garden and it can pay big dividends for nearby watersheds.

Stormwater runoff is one of the leading sources of pollution in waterways, according to Valann Budischak, a horticultural associate with University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. But rain gardens can be a great way to manage stormwater. Rain gardens are shallow depressions, planted with perennials and woody plants, which collect water from roofs, driveways, other impervious surfaces and turf grass (which, like a driveway, is lousy at absorbing water).

Rain gardens slow down and reduce runoff and thus help prevent flooding and erosion. In addition, the garden’s soil and plants filter pollutants in rainwater. (Full article)

When fueling up means plugging in: Limited range, long charging time remain concerns for potential electric vehicle customers
05/18/2011 -

Want a Nissan Leaf? Join the 20,000 people on the waiting list to get one. The Chevy Volt got your eye? General Motors ramped up availability earlier this year to try and meet demand. With the latest generation of electric vehicles gaining traction, new findings from University of Delaware researchers are informing automakers’ and policymakers’ decisions about the environmentally friendly cars.

Results of one study show the electric car attributes that are most important for consumers: driving range, fuel cost savings and charging time. The results are based on a national survey conducted by the researchers, UD professors George Parsons, Willett Kempton and Meryl Gardner, and Michael Hidrue, who recently graduated from UD with a doctoral degree in economics. Lead author Hidrue conducted the research for his dissertation. (Full article)

Stormwater runoff: CANR fights stormwater runoff to help White Clay Creek
05/17/2011 -

After the storm has passed, the damage isn’t done. In fact, for White Clay Creek, the destruction is just beginning.

Much of the University of Delaware's campus, including the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) farm, drains into Cool Run, a tributary of White Clay Creek. Because the creek has been designated as a National Wild and Scenic River, a designation spearhead by Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., a UD alumnus, the University now has the distinction of being one of only two universities in the country to have a National Wild and Scenic River run through its campus. Because of this, there is an urgency to quell the impact of stormwater runoff into the creek.

Stormwater runoff, unfiltered water that reaches bodies of water by flowing across impervious surfaces, enters White Clay Creek through multiple sources throughout the city of Newark and the UD campus. Because of this, CANR has teamed with partners from across the University and the city to see what can be done to help reduce the University’s contribution to the problem, activity that has led to the formation of the University of Delaware Watershed Action Team for Ecological Restoration (UD WATER). (Full article)

05/12/2011 -

Contact: Cathy Rossi, Director of Communications, Office of the Governor, 302-577-5224, or Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Gov. Markell promotes economic growth, health and environmental protection

Proposes significant investment in brownfield redevelopment; online Delaware Brownfields Marketplace database launched

WILMINGTON (May 13, 2011) – Governor Jack Markell today proposed a significant investment in brownfield redevelopment and environmental cleanup projects that would create shovel-ready opportunities for development, while making our communities safer and healthier. The Governor wants to allocate $4 million from recent increases in projected state revenues to Delaware’s Hazardous Site Cleanup Act (HSCA) fund for brownfield and other environmental cleanup projects, and restore $1 million a year for the next two years to HSCA that had been diverted to the state’s General Fund. The Governor also announced the launch of a new interactive website which lists brownfield sites that have been cleaned up, environmentally certified and are ready for redevelopment.
“Redevelopment makes environmental and economic sense,” Gov. Markell said. “Investing in brownfield and environmental cleanup projects will transform abandoned, blighted and contaminated properties into safer, healthier revitalized communities. Wilmington’s riverfront area is a testament to the potential for brownfield redevelopment to play a critical role in Delaware’s economic prosperity. Environmental stewardship and revitalization can go hand-in-hand. ”