Archive for the ‘NERR’ Category

Destination Location: Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, Georgia

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Looking for a unique destination rich in history, culture, and exploration?  Then Sapleo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve (SINERR) is the place to go.  Located on Sapelo Island, the fourth largest barrier island in Georgia, the SINERR encompasses 6,110 acres of land consisting of maritime forest, hammock land, and tidal salt marsh.  When visiting the Reserve be on the look-out for egrets, herons, fiddler crabs, ospreys, woodstorks, alligators and brown pelicans. Sapelo Island is just as rich in human history as it is in natural history.  In fact, the island’s human history dates back 4,500 years which makes visiting this Reserve a great trip for history and nature enthusiasts alike.  Enjoy the warmth of Georgia and visit the Sapleo Island National Esturaine Research Reserve, one of 28 Reserves around the United States.   For more information about SINERR visit them on the web

Scientist Log #5: Benchmarking

Friday, February 10th, 2012

February 10, 2012

Over the past few weeks, we have been busy installing benchmarks throughout Kent County.  We are not finding benches and marking them.  Benchmarks  are monuments scattered throughout the United States that are used for surveys in order to ensure accurate measurements for foundations of houses, roads, and other construction projects.  Benchmarks are also used to verify elevations within a project or to survey unknown points.  The benchmarks we are installing are either replacing old ones that have been destroyed or adding new ones to areas that lack coverage.  These new benchmarks will eventually be used by other surveyors throughout Delaware.

Destination: Jobos Bay, Puerto Rico

Monday, January 30th, 2012

It’s been a fairly mild winter; however, I do find myself daydreaming of warmer places.  The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) has 28 Reserves around the United States and its territories of which the Delaware NERR is apart.    One of the Reserves I have wanted to visit is Jobos Bay in Aguirre, Puerto Rico.  This Reserve was adopted into the national system in 1981.   With approximately 3,300 acres, Jobos Bay NERR encompasses a wide variety of habitats including mangrove forests, subtropical dry forests, sea grass beds, salt flats, and coral reefs.  It is home to animals such as the peregrine falcon, West Indian manatee, brown pelicans, and hawksbill turtles.  Jobos Bay would make a great destination!  For more information about Jobos Bay NERR visit them on Facebook and on the National Estuarine Research Reserve website.  Keep checking back for the next Reserve Destination location.

Calling all teachers looking for a great field trip

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

The St. Jones Reserve is now taking reservations for the Spring 2012 and Fall 2012 field trip seasons.  We thank everyone for their patience and support as the Reserve was in a strategic planning mode this past fall.  We will be offering field trip opportunities on Tuesdays and Wednesdays beginning March 1st.   Field trips are designed based on grade levels and Delaware state standards. Possible activities for your school’s field trip experience may include a muckless marsh walk; discovery labs on various topics (such as weather & climate, horseshoe crabs, water quality); activities about horseshoe crabs; skins, scat, and tracks activity; watershed models; fish printing; plant collecting and preservation; and boat trips just to name a few.   Please contact Kate Marvel if you are interested in participating in a field trip at the St. Jones Reserve by e-mailing her at or by calling (302) 739-3436.  For more information about the Reserve visit our website.

What’s on Your Mind About Sea Level Rise?

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Have you been wondering what sea level rise is and how it might impact Delaware?  Delaware Coastal Programs in conjunction with the Delaware Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee would like your input about sea level rise in Delaware.  They have been hosting Sea Level Rise Public Engagement Sessions throughout the state.  If you have not been able to attend one as of yet, there are still two more opportunities to take part and share your thoughts.  On Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 there will be a session at the Kent County Levy Court in Dover, Delaware from 4:00 – 7:00 pm.  On Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 there will be a session at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, Delaware from 4:00 – 7:00 pm.   At both locations presentations will be conducted at 4:30 pm and again at 6:00 pm.  Visit the Delaware Sea Level Rise Public Engagement Sessions webpage for more information.

Reserve Staff Visited Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

The National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) system is comprised of 28 reserves around the United States.  The Delaware NERR is the 22nd reserve, adopted into the system in 1993.  Every year the staff from each reserve meet for a national meeting to set system-wide priorities, integrate the program sectors (management, research, education, coastal training, and stewardship), and provide relevant, targeted information and training.  This year the annual meeting was held at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR near St. Augustine, Florida.  We greatly appreciate the hard work the GTM Reserve put into hosting this year’s  meeting.  Visit the NERR system on the web to learn more about all 28 Reserves around the US.

Thank you Wes!

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Today we’re celebrating 12 years of outstanding service by the Reserve’s Conservationist, Wes Conley who is starting on a new adventure – retirement!  He’s been an invaluable resource to the Reserve and provided outstanding technical assistance and leadership in getting things done on the ground at the St Jones Reserve and Blackbird Creek Reserve.  His work ethic and dedication have brought great credit upon himself and the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve.  It has been amazing working with you Wes!

Researchers Study Blue Crabs in the Delaware Bay

Friday, September 30th, 2011

The effect of climate change is expected to raise the temperature of Southern New England waters by up to 40°F (4.5 °C) in this century. This may result in northward expansion of the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) range as well as its pathogens (an agent that causes disease such as a virus or bacteria). The Delaware Bay is the northern limit for commercial harvest of blue crab, though substantial populations extend into Massachusetts and support a recreational fishery. The University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Science and the University of Delaware are beginning a student project to assess the prevalence of two fatal pathogens of blue crab, a reovirus and a protozoan parasite, in the northern range from the Delaware Bay to the southern shore of Massachusetts. This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funded project is intended to serve as a template for long-term studies of the effects of climate change and latitude on blue crab disease prevalence in the Northeastern United States. 

The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve is assisting with the project by providing  equipment, technical assistance, and training.  Other collections (single sites, annual collections) are being provided by partners affiliated with the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve in New Jersey, NOAA Milford Lab, and Massachusetts  Division of Marine Fisheries.

 (The NOAA-LMRCSC competition is led by the Univ. of MD Eastern Shore, Paulinus Chigbu, PI; UMCES-IMET PI is Rosemary Jagus).

“Tracking pathogens of blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) along a climatological and latitudinal gradient”   PI:  Eric J Schott, UMCES-Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology;  Co-PI: Dennis McIntosh, Delaware State University. Outreach;  NOAA collaborator: Gretchen Messick, NCCOS, Oxford Cooperative Lab.

Delaware Celebrates National Estuaries Day

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Join us for a grand celebration of National Estuaries Day!  National Estuaries Day is an annual event that celebrates our estuaries, those areas where rivers meet the sea. It is a great opportunity to learn more about these ecosystems and how you can help to protect them.  Delaware is celebrating National Estuaries Day through the annual Coastal Clean-up event to be held on Saturday, September 17, 2011.  We encourage you to get involved and volunteer for Delaware’s Coastal Clean-up.  It is a wonderful way to help protect our coasts and estuaries (such as the Delaware Bay).  Visit the Delaware Coastal Clean-up webpage for more information or to register to volunteer.  For information about National Estuaries Day (NED) visit the NED webpage.

Navigating the St. Jones…A Tale of A River

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Photo by Eric Crossan

Snaking through the middle of downtown Dover, past Legislative Hall, sneaking around the Air Force Base, and ending its journey at Bowers Beach is none other than the St. Jones River.  In years past, our rivers were thought to be our life line.  They were our source of food, transportation, income, entertainment, and sense of beauty.  As you journey on the St. Jones River you notice the life that once was, the life that now is, and the life soon to be.  As one of the main transportation routes from Dover to Wilmington and Philadelphia, the St. Jones served as a thoroughfare for the farming community.  Large ships would transport produce and canned goods from the areas around Dover and ship them into the larger Ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia.  These ships used to carry the goods originated from the ship yards of Lebanon Landing, Delaware.  It is now difficult to imagine that large  ships ever traversed this river but photographs show us different.  To make the trip easier for the ships to maneuver, the River was straightened by dredging until the mid to late 1930’s.  Numerous meanders or bends were cut through to straighten this mighty river.  These bends helped slow the flow of water and defined the River.  As the St. Jones path was altered by dredging, brackish water (combination of fresh and salt water) moved further upstream changing the plant and animal communities from a more freshwater system to a brackish water system.

The landscape and lifestyles have certainly changed since the pre-colonial times.  Now, we see more people and more buildings along the St. Jones River.  We see less commercial fisherman, less recreation on the River, and no shipping industry.  However, the River never disappoints in providing great bird sightings such as the vibrant great blue herons, petite marsh wrens, energetic kingfishers, the mighty osprey, and the majestic bald eagles.  The beauty of the St. Jones River still exists in its stunning marsh lands, rich history, and swift current.  If only the River could talk…oh the tale it would tell.  To find out more about the St. Jones River, join us on a boat trip to experience its story.