Located in Kent County Delaware, the St. Jones River watershed covers 57,643 acres of the Delaware Bay Basin. The St. Jones River is dammed at Silver Lake in Dover and then winds 10 miles through residential and commercially developed areas, the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Ted Harvey Wildlife Area before emptying into Delaware Bay.
Flat wetlands, usually forested, exist mostly in the upper portion of the watershed and eventually drain into creeks and streams. Nontidal riverine wetlands and tidal wetlands line the banks of the river, sometimes up to 1/2 mile wide toward the mouth of the river. Wetlands comprise 9,669 acres of the watershed and provide critical services such as nutrient removal, erosion control, habitat for plants and wildlife, flood reduction, and storm water storage to the citizens of Delaware. The extent to which wetlands can perform these functions and thrive in the future depends on their health.
The Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control conducted a study to determine the health of both tidal and nontidal wetlands in the St. Jones River watershed, changes in wetland acreage, and to identify the presence of wetland stressors that are degrading wetlands.
So, how did we fair? Visit the website and see the Report Card for yourself!
Join a naturalist from the St. Jones Reserve as we journey on the St. Jones River on a 24 foot Skiff boat. Enjoy this leisurely boat trip to explore the cultural and natural history of the river. Be on the look out for Great Blue Herons, Kingfishers, and Cormorants. The boat will leave Scotton Landing just south of Dover, Delaware on September 22nd, 2010 at 10:00 am and return to the Landing at noon. For more information or to register please call 302-739-3436. Register quick as space is limited.
Written on: September 3rd, 2010 in St. Jones Reserve
Can it be that there is still lotus lily (Nelumbo lutea) growing along the St. Jones River? Absolutely and we’ve seen it with our own eyes! Staff from the St. Jones Reserve and the University of Delaware – Cooperative Extension went on a lotus lily expedition last week to explore the existence of this beautiful plant in our very own St. Jones River. Why would we even go on such a journey? Well, it has been documented that the upper reaches of the St. Jones River at one time had acres of lotus lily growing. However, in the 1930’s the river was dredged which allowed brackish water (mixture of fresh and salt water) to move further up the river into primarily freshwater areas. Lotus lily is a freshwater plant and cannot tolerate salt or brackish water; therefore, as the brackish water intruded into its growth zone along the St. Jones it began to die back. At least that is a theory.
The good news is the lotus lily is not completely gone in the St. Jones! And, what a beautiful sight it is. The large greenish blue leaves towering above the water, the yellowish white flowers, and the unique seed pods are amazing to behold. Lotus lilies are quite common in states in the Mississippi drainage basin. However, this beautiful plant is considered to be a rare native in Delaware.
For more information about lotus lilies in the St. Jones River, Delaware check out these references:
Delaware Federal Writers Project, Delaware, a guide to the First State, 1938, 1948.
Come and explore the St. Jones Reserve trail with the aid of our new trail guide! Learn about the natural and cultural history of the St. Jones River and its surrounding lands. Keep an out for fiddler crabs, great blue herons, bald eagles, and muskrats ,as well as, beautiful landscapes and plants. The trail is open dawn to dusk 7 days a week. Please be cautious of hunting seasons (particularly in fall and winter) a section of the trail traverses part of the Ted Harvey Wildlife Management area (note areas are marked with “active hunting” signs). As always, there is no hunting on Sundays so enjoy a Sunday stroll on the St. Jones Reserve trail!
Come and join us for the 3rd Blackbird Creek Fall Festival to be held at the Blackbird Creek Reserve in Townsend, Delaware on Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 from 10 am – 4pm. The festival celebration will include live music, vendors, exhibitors, hayrides, hikes, canoe trips, and kids crafts. If you are interested in vending or exhibiting at this year’s festival please view the Blackbird Exhibitor Flier or the Blackbird Vendor Flier. For additional information please call 302-739-3436.