In 2013, The Nature Conservancy is pursuing projects and opportunities in Delaware that will inspire and engage current members and new constituencies more than ever before. The future of conservation in the State (and beyond) depends upon this and we are up for the challenge.
Here’s a sneak preview of what we’ll be working on in the coming year – all in the name of keeping Delaware beautiful, prosperous and healthy for people and nature.
- Protecting more land: Last year, we worked with colleagues in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to complete a priority lands assessment for the entire Delaware River and Bay under a grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. With solid scientific data in hand, we’re confident about committing $100,000 in 2013 to help the State of Delaware secure and permanently protect 805 acres of wetland habitat along the Delaware Bayshores in eastern Kent County.
- Focusing on cities: Urban areas contain pockets of nature that can benefit air and water quality while improving physical and emotional health of city residents. That’s why we’re working with the City of Wilmington, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the University of Delaware and the Stroud™ Water Research Center to restore and transform 22 acres of degraded wetlands in South Wilmington into a natural stormwater management system and city park.
While the project is several years from completion, it eventually will accommodate stormwater runoff from surrounding areas to reduce flooding and sewer overflows and improve water quality in the Christina and Delaware Rivers. It will also bring more nature to people residing and working in this rapidly changing portion the city.
- Reaching a new generation: Last year, Governor Markell advanced a “Children in Nature” initiative challenging organizations across the state to make Delaware a leader in environmental education. In response, we’re taking steps to bring the Conservancy’s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program to Delaware. Currently serving eight states, LEAF works with high schools to combine classroom lessons with real-world conservation work experience for urban youth.
- Tending to the business of conservation: Successful conservation in Delaware requires defining our role within the three ecological systems shaping the State’s unique landscapes, seascapes and watersheds. In order to ensure the most effective use of limited staff and resources, we’re developing long-term business plans to guide future work throughout the Delaware River and Bay, up and down the Mid-Atlantic coast and within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
- Using our “Outside Voice:” In 2013, we’ll continue to weigh in with government agencies and elected officials about policies and legislative initiatives that support open space, farmland and forestland protection. We hope you’ll join us in these efforts!