DNREC Report Details Wetland Health

DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program has announced completion of the final report on the health of wetlands located in New Castle County’s Christina River Watershed.

The Christina River originates in Landenburg, Pa., and flows 35 miles eastward through Newark, Christiana and Newport, Del., before emptying into the Delaware River through the Port of Wilmington.

One of only five watersheds that make up Delaware’s Piedmont drainage basin, the Christina River Watershed covers a little over 49,000 acres and is 60 percent urban development. Wetlands make up approximately 10 percent of the watershed.

Throughout Delaware’s history, the Christina River and its wetlands have seen significant changes, from re-routing the river for transportation, to diking and filling wetlands for industrial development. The remaining wetlands in the Christina River watershed are crucial for protecting communities from flooding and cleaning surface waters,” said DNREC Environmental Scientist Alison Rogerson, program lead for Wetland Monitoring and Assessment.

This report includes management recommendations such as incorporating wetland creation into urban planning, encouraging buffers around streams and wetlands, and exploring innovative restoration techniques using dredge materials and living shorelines,” Rogerson added.

To combat disturbances to wetland health and loss of acreage, the groups produced seven management recommendations:

• Preserve remaining Delmarva Bays (coastal plain ponds), a regionally-unique wetlands classification;

• Incorporate wetland creation and restoration into urban planning;

• Explore opportunities to use clean dredge material for wetland creation/restoration;

• Encourage alternative shoreline protection designs, such as Living Shorelines;

• Develop incentives and encourage maintaining vegetated buffers along riverine and tidal wetlands;

• Control the extent and spread of the non-native, invasive common reed (Phragmites australis);

• Update tidal wetland regulatory maps.

 

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