Nominations sought for Delaware’s 2011 Wetland Warrior

Nominations sought for Delaware’s 2011 Wetland Warrior
Award honors exemplary efforts that benefit Delaware wetlands.

Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife
Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife

Delaware –-(Ammoland.com)- Wetlands are directly tied to our quality of life in Delaware, and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is seeking nominations for the 2011 Delaware Wetland Warrior Award that recognizes exemplary efforts to protect wetlands and the irreplaceable services they provide to all Delawareans.

Information on submitting a nomination can be found on DNREC’s Delaware Wetlands webpage, www.dnrec.delaware.gov/admin/delawarewetlands. Nominations must be submitted by June 10 to Wetland Outreach Specialist Rebecca Rothweiler at 302-739-9939 or [email protected]

The Wetland Warrior award is presented annually to a citizen, organization, business or other group that has demonstrated outstanding efforts to benefit Delaware wetlands through outreach and education, monitoring and assessment, or restoration and protection. The award will be presented by Governor Jack Markell and DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara on Governor’s Day, July 28, at the Delaware State Fair.

“The award recognizes efforts that help ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy high quality wetlands, biological diversity and clean water,” said DNREC Wetland Outreach Coordinator Rebecca Rothweiler. “Wetland Warriors are Delaware’s environmental heroes – who have worked tirelessly to slow wetland loss, helped restore degraded wetlands, preserved habitat, increased awareness of the value of wetlands and bolstered support for their protection.

Past Delaware Wetland Warriors have included:

2010: Peter Martin, Delaware Wild Lands Inc.
Peter Martin led efforts to restore the hydrology and plant communities of the largest freshwater wetland that remains in Delaware, the Great Cypress Swamp near the Maryland line in southern Sussex. Mr. Martin served as interim director of Delaware Wild Lands Inc., a non-profit charitable corporation dedicated to purchasing lands for preservation, management, and protection in Delaware.

2009: Al Rizzo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Al Rizzo was instrumental in restoring thousands of acres of degraded wetlands and former wetlands, in educating the public on the value of wetlands and in training other scientists on innovative techniques.

2008: Indian River School District, Outdoor Education Center

Indian River School District Outdoor Education Center at Ingram Pond improved the future for protection of wetlands in Delaware by educating thousands of students on the value of wetlands, through hands-on monitoring for water quality, studying wildlife interactions and exploring ecosystem dynamics.

Delaware is covered by more than 320,000 acres of wetlands, about 25 percent of the state’s area. Wetlands protect lives and property from the impacts of floods and storms, filter pollutants and improve water quality, reduce erosion and provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife. Almost every part of our state is within one mile of a wetland – making wetland protection vital to our health and safety.

Over the centuries, Delaware’s wetlands have suffered tremendously. Since Delaware was first settled by Europeans in the 1600s, more than half of our original wetlands have been lost, and while much of wetland loss has occurred in years past, it is still happening today – and at an accelerated rate.

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control studies indicate that over the past 15 years, more than 2,600 acres of wetlands were lost due to conversion to other land uses in Sussex County alone. This acreage is significant because in the previous 10-year period, the total statewide wetland loss was 1,900 acres. .

For more information, visit the Delaware Wetlands webpage, www.dnrec.delaware.gov/admin/DelawareWetlands.

The page includes links to wetland articles published in “Outdoor Delaware” magazine: Secretary O'Mara's “Flooding and Wetlands in Delaware” (how wetlands can protect residents from flooding); and “Standing Up for Wetlands” (how landowners can enroll in voluntary wetland restoration programs).

The webpage also includes the Wetland Public Participation Guidebook, a comprehensive resource developed to inspire citizens to take actions to protect wetlands. Also featured is the latest information on wetland health, wetland loss studies, regulations, wetland impacts and how they can be prevented, and how the public can get involved with local land use decisions that could affect wetlands. A new wetlands video – Purify, Provide, and Protect that highlights wetland benefits – is also posted on the webpage.

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