Archive for the ‘NERR’ Category

Learning from the River

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

How better to learn about a watershed than to experience it? On July 12, 2012 teachers from several states participated in a watershed tour of the St. Jones River coordinated by the Reserve in collaboration with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (the Partnership).  The tour is one component of the Partnership’s annual watershed workshop for teachers.   The teachers explored the history, habitats, impacts, and the restoration efforts occurring in and along the St. Jones River in Kent County, Delaware.  At each stop along the tour teachers had the opportunity to interact with scientists, resource managers, and environmental educators about the importance of the St. Jones River; how it was impacted in the past; what impacts it today; and how it is being protected for tomorrow.   If you want to learn more about the St. Jones River visit the St. Jones Reserve south of the Dover Air Force Base in Dover, DE.

Scientist Log #6: You are never too old to play in the mud!

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Have you ever wondered what the marsh was like many years ago? Probably not, but we (scientists) have a way of determining how much sediment has been collected on the marsh surface over long periods of time (also known as accretion). Recently, we collected three sediment cores within the St. Jones Reserve as part of a long term bio-monitoring project. In order to collect these cores, we used a large tri-pod to help pull up a PVC pipe that was pushed into the marsh to collect and hold the sample. This may sound simple, but there needs to be the right amount of suction to keep the core sample inside of the PVC pipe as we lift it up. Sometimes this process can take multiple tries! After each core is collected we put rubber caps on each end until the soil sample is ready to be processed. Analyses of these core samples for lead-210 and cesium-137 helps determine accretion rates and the age of various depths within the sediment over the past 50-100 years.

Processing the cores can be a messy and smelly job, but it is fun to work with marsh mud. Thankfully, we can open the windows to help reduce the smell. The first part of the processing requires the sediment core to be cut up into 2cm sections and dried in a scientific oven. Then the samples are sent to the University of Delaware campus in Lewes, DE for the final analysis.

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.