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Oyster Recycling is Here to Stay

Written on: May 30th, 2016 in Living Shorelines

Credit: Delaware Center for Inland Bays

Credit: Delaware Center for Inland Bays

Did you know that empty oyster shells can be reused for wetland restoration projects and that there are two oyster shell recycling programs in Delaware? One is run by the Center for the Inland Bays in Rehoboth Beach and the other is by the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary in Wilmington.

Oysters have hard shells mostly made up of calcium carbonate (the same stuff chalk is made up of), and are perfect for creating natural shoreline stabilization structures that break up wave energy, prevent erosion, and serve as homes for baby oysters, also called spat. In addition to controlling erosion, oysters filter water. One adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day.

Indian River living shoreline installation with oyster bags.

Indian River living shoreline installation with oyster bags.

One way we’ve utilized this natural resource is in our living shorelines projects. Once the oyster shells have been cured, they are stuffed into mesh bags to keep them from being knocked around and put along the edge of the living shorelines projects (see picture). They serve as a first line of defense for the marsh edge protecting it against strong waves, and also as a blank canvas to attract new oyster colonies.

Remember, as the Center for the Inland Bays says, “Don’t Chuck Your Shucks!”, recycle them to keep them out of landfills and get them back into nature. Currently, Center for Inland Bays and Partnership for the Delaware Estuary collect oyster shells from local restaurants, please contact each program directly for more information about their oyster shell recycling programs.

May is American Wetlands Month

Written on: May 30th, 2016 in Outreach

American Wetlands Month was established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1991 as a way to bring federal, state, and local organizations together to highlight the importance of wetlands to the environment, the economy, and the nation’s citizens. “American Wetlands Month is a great time to discover the importance of wetlands and the significant […]


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It’s Horseshoe Crab Counting Season

Written on: May 30th, 2016 in Wetland Animals

Guest writer: Maggie Pletta, DNERR The Delaware Bay is home to the largest population of horseshoe crabs in the world, which is just one of the many reasons the Delaware Bay is so special. The horseshoe crab has been around since before the dinosaurs and is an important animal to the ecosystem and to humans. Their […]


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Peepers, Marbles, and Tigers, Oh My!

Written on: March 14th, 2016 in Wetland Animals

Thanks to all that extra water lying around, all sorts of amphibians start to come alive this time of year in Delaware. Frogs and salamanders use these seasonal pools of water, or wetlands, to breed and can only do so because predatory fish cannot survive the lack of permanent water. They then use the surrounding […]


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Mispillion Watershed Health – Below Average

Written on: March 14th, 2016 in Wetland Assessments

In the summer of 2012, DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring & Assessment Program rated the health of wetlands in the Mispillion and Cedar Creek River Watershed’s tidal and non-tidal flat and riverine wetlands. The goal of this project was to summarize recent gains and losses in wetland acreage, assess the condition, and identify impacts on the wetland. […]


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Coastal Storms, Wetlands & You

Written on: March 14th, 2016 in Outreach

Winter storms and nor-easters brought excess rainfall, rough seas, and unseasonably high tides to Delaware this winter, highlighting the value of nature’s first line of defense against coastal storms; wetlands. Up and down Delaware’s coast, roadways were made impassable due to rising seas, buildings were battered by winds and water, and dunes and boardwalks were washed […]


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Getting to Know Delaware’s Non-Tidal Wetlands: Appoquinimink Watershed

Written on: March 8th, 2016 in Wetland Assessments

Every summer since 1999 our Program has gone out into the wilderness to assess non-tidal wetland health in Delaware’s different watersheds. Why you ask? Well, we want to see how healthy Delaware’s wetlands are and if they are able to perform the natural tasks that make them so valuable. We identify which wetlands are in […]


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Delaware’s Unique Wetlands

Written on: December 19th, 2015 in Outreach

Coastal Plain Seasonal Ponds, also called Delmarva Bays, are small, shallow, seasonally-wet areas. They are fed by groundwater, rain or snow and usually fill up in winter and spring and dry out in summer and fall. Often surrounded by woodlands, the inner (wetter) zones feature a variety of low shrubs (e.g. buttonbush and blueberry) and […]


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Take a Virtual Tour of Delaware’s Living Shorelines

Written on: December 11th, 2015 in Living Shorelines

Get an up-close and personal tour of living shoreline projects across the State of Delaware from the comfort of your own home:de.gov/livingshorelinesites.  This modern interface will give you a quick summary of various tidal wetland living shoreline installations, and includes specific goals, materials used, time series photos and the project point of contact. Quick links […]


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How Much Groundwater Do Delaware’s Wetlands Hold?

Written on: November 25th, 2015 in Wetland Assessments

Groundwater and Delaware’s Wetlands Approximately 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, and it makes an incredible journey around the globe. Water can travel up into the atmosphere and back down into the land; moving from plants, to clouds, to soils, and can even make its way underground. Water that is stored […]


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