delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

04/08/2011 -

Students for the Environment presents, Environmental Injustice: Mountaintop Removal, a discussion led by Cathy Kunkel of Coal River Mountain Watch (CRMW), a grassroots organization against mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal is a way of mining coal that involves blasting up to 800 vertical feet of mountain apart with millions of tons of explosives and then dumping the loose rock into sources of drinking water in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. The mission of Coal River Mountain Watch is to stop the destruction of their communities in West Virginia and environment by mountaintop removal mining, to improve the quality of life in their area and to help rebuild sustainable communities. Please join us on Tuesday, April 19 at 7 PM in Smith 120 to learn more about the social, economic and environmental injustices of mountain top removal.
Please find the flyer attached.

04/08/2011 -

Contact: Melanie Rapp, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.
DNREC Secretary invites volunteers to help clean up the Christina River

NEW CASTLE COUNTY (April 8, 2011) – Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara encourages volunteers to join the clean-up efforts along the Christina River and several of its tributaries on Saturday, April 16 from 8 a.m. until noon. Volunteers are asked to register to work at one of 10 sites throughout northern New Castle County, from north Wilmington to just south of Newark.
“Helping to beautify our waterways is the perfect way to spend a few hours on a Saturday morning,” said Secretary O’Mara. “Clearing debris from the Christina watershed not only improves the landscape for residents and visitors to enjoy, it improves the health and water quality of the river and its tributaries, the primary sources of public water supply for New Castle County.”
For a list of cleanup sites with directions and to register, visit or call 302-838-1897.  Registration is encouraged before April 14, so adequate supplies can be provided to each site captain. Due to insurance requirements, volunteers under the age of sixteen must have adult supervision.

Water watchdogs:  Delaware Sea Grant water monitoring program celebrates 20 years
04/07/2011 -

They converge off Florida’s Gulf Coast, filling the water with ghostly rouge-colored clouds, causing human respiratory irritation, and forcing the state to close shellfish beds. When the tiny, toxic plants associated with red tide showed up in Delaware’s Indian River Inlet in 2007 — the first time they’d appeared north of Cape Hatteras, N.C. — John Schneider knew the possible consequences.

“It’s nothing to mess with, that’s for sure,” said Schneider, who oversees the state of Delaware’s water resources management section and has faced red tide before in both Florida and North Carolina.

Thankfully, a ready team of staff and trained volunteers from the University of Delaware Citizen Monitoring Program took more than 100 water samples and supplied daily reports for two weeks after they initially identified the problem. That steady stream of information allowed the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to provide the public with appropriate health advisories and to keep a close eye on the situation at little cost. (Full article)

04/05/2011 -

For more information, contact Joanna Wilson, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC’s DuPont Nature Center announces ‘Peace, Love & Horseshoe Crabs’ to be held on May 21
SLAUGHTER BEACH (April 6, 2011) – The DuPont Nature Center at Mispillion Harbor Reserve, a DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife facility, will host “Peace, Love & Horseshoe Crabs,” its second-annual festival celebrating the spring spectacle of migrating shorebirds and spawning horseshoe crabs, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 at the center and the Slaughter Beach Fire Hall in Slaughter Beach. Admission is free.
The festivities will feature children’s games, music, crafts and vendors, food and a variety of fun and educational activities at eco-stations set up on the grounds. Visitors will have great viewing opportunities from the center’s large deck to check out migrating shorebirds including the Red Knot. Guides will be on hand to help identify the birds, which depend on horseshoe crab eggs to help fuel their 9,000-mile journey. In addition, special presentations on topics such as birding, horseshoe crabs and shipbuilding will be presented throughout the day at the fire hall.

04/05/2011 -

For more information, contact Joanna Wilson, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Training announced for volunteer piping plover, beachnester monitors

LEWES (April 6, 2011) – Volunteers who would like to learn more about Delaware’s endangered piping plovers and other beachnesters and find out how they can join DNREC’s monitoring team are invited to a free training session from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at the Biden Center at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes.
The session will begin with refreshments and a slideshow, followed by a discussion on the monitoring program and how volunteers can help to ensure that our beachnesting shorebirds are given the peace and quiet they need to successfully rear their chicks.
Weather permitting, the group will finish out the session by going out to the Point at Cape Henlopen to look for piping plovers and other shorebirds that will likely be out on the tidal flats feeding. A few birding scopes and pairs of binoculars will be available for use, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own optics if they have them.

04/05/2011 -


Contact: Melanie Rapp, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

DNREC showcases energy savings programs, state parks and rain gardens at the Green and Healthy Living Expo on April 9

NEWARK (April 4, 2010) –Energy savings programs for homeowners and businesses, the beauty and amenities of Delaware State Parks, and Rain Gardens for the Bays will be showcased by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control at the Green and Healthy Living Expo on Saturday, April 9. The expo, which is free to the public, will be held at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Secretary Collin O’Mara will give welcoming remarks at 11 a.m. and detail the state’s energy savings, green initiatives and environmental programs that help Delaware residents and businesses.

At the Expo, DNREC’s Delaware Energy Office and the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility’s (SEU) Energize Delaware are teaming up in an exhibit that includes programs and solutions to help Delawareans save energy and money. At the exhibit, homeowners and businesses will find materials and information that will connect them to the latest energy-saving ideas, products and services.

A flood of innovation: UD and the state work together to mitigate coastal flooding in Delaware
04/05/2011 -

Living along the southern coast of Delaware definitely has its perks. Fishing, beaches and cool bay breezes can make for an idyllic way of life. But members of the Kent County community can tell you that living by the water is not always a carefree existence.

On Mother’s Day in 2008, the Delaware Bay coast of Kent County suffered a serious coastal flooding event. One person died and at least 150 residents were evacuated from their homes. Monetary estimates of the damage ranged from $1–2 million. Not only were community members unprepared for the event, but emergency management officials had no accurate gauge as to how serious the flooding would be, and thus their response was delayed.

The aftereffects of the Mother’s Day flood left citizens and emergency management officials alike wondering if there was a better way to plan for these types of events.  Two state agencies, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), collaborated with the University of Delaware and the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) and found an answer in the Delaware Environmental Observing System (DEOS).

04/04/2011 -

Delaware EPSCoR and the Delaware Small Business and Technology Development Center (DSBTDC) are cosponsoring a free workshop titled “The Innovation Process: Science to Commercialization” on April 18–19, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute in Newark.

This workshop is recommended for any faculty member or researcher on campus who is interested in exploring commercial applications for their research.

In addition to providing an overview of the innovation-to-commercialization process, with a panel of successful inventors sharing their first-hand experiences, the workshop will focus on the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These and other federal programs designed to encourage innovation and economic development can be important in enabling the innovation process to move forward. There will also be time allotted during the workshop for one-on-one counseling for researchers who are wondering how to proceed with marketing their innovations. (full article)

Protecting the world’s coastlines: Fulbright scholar to study sand movement in UK
04/04/2011 -

Jack Puleo studies beaches and what he sees concerns him.

Sea levels are rising. Climate change experts estimate global sea levels will rise nearly five feet over the next century, increasing shoreline erosion and costing the U.S. an estimated $130 million annually on beach nourishment alone.

More importantly, Puleo is eager to collect new data to predict how beaches evolve and erode over time.

Puleo has developed a sensor to capture data about the transport of sediment (in this case beach sands) on critical land-ocean boundaries. He will take his research to a new level this October when he deploys the sensors under natural conditions for the first time – in a landmark field study conducted as part of his recently awarded 2011-2012 Fulbright scholarship at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom. (full article)

Writing the book on solar: University of Delaware researchers contributed heavily to the ‘go-to’ book on solar energy
04/04/2011 -

The one-story building housing some of the world’s premier solar researchers could easily be mistaken for a garage or large storage shed.  The work happening there is far more spectacular than the drab building belies.

Inside, the University of Delaware Institute for Energy Conversion (IEC) investigates and innovates advances in photovoltaics, the conversion of light into electricity. Established in 1972, IEC is the world’s oldest solar lab.  Today it and UD are world leaders in this area, a boast backed by UD’s overwhelming presence in a new book, the Handbook of Photovoltaic Science and Engineering, second edition.  Steve Hegedus, a scientist at IEC, co-edited the 1,168-page hardcover, in which he and four other UD researchers wrote chapters. 

“The combination of our long historical view and our very up-to-date technology awareness really made them good choices to contribute to the book,” Hegedus said.