Ocean View, DE — The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife, and volunteers came together on Saturday, October 20th to plant 325 trees at Sassafras Landing in the Assawoman Wildlife Area.
Throughout the morning, 37 volunteers of all ages planted trees, showed off their costumes, designed their own recycled bird feeders, discovered the origins of some spooky skulls, played games, and explored why forests are so important for better water quality and as wildlife habitat.
Between 1992 and 2012, the Inland Bays watershed lost 14 square miles of ecologically-important forested areas. Not only does this harm the wildlife that depends on these forests (native birds, foxes, turtles, etc.), it also negatively affects the water quality of our creeks, rivers, and Bays.
“When we replace forests with homes, roads, businesses, or parking lots, we are creating more impervious “hardened” surfaces for rainwater to pick up pollutants and wash them into our waterways,” explains Victoria Spice, the Center’s Restoration Project Manager. “But if we allow forests to grow and thrive, they can help reduce stormwater runoff and can even absorb and filter the rain, allowing it to enter our groundwater — where much of our drinking water comes from.” This reforestation project alone will reduce nitrogen by 59.5 lbs per year and phosphorus by 1.4 lbs per year, create four acres of rich interior forest habitat, and sequester 6.9 million pounds of carbon dioxide over the next 20 years.
This project was a partnership between the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays and the Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife and furthers the Center’s Inland Bays Pollution Control Strategy goal to establish forested waterway buffers in the Inland Bays watershed, the Delaware Inland Bays Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan’s goals to provide forested buffers that reduce nutrient loading to the bays, and the 2015-2025 Delaware Wildlife Action Plan that calls for re-establishment of coastal plain forest habitats lost to fragmentation that can enhance and protect both biodiversity and water quality.
Additional plantings will take place this Spring between March and April. Part of the Center’s Watershed Reforestation Plan, two additional reforestation projects we will take place on Double Bridges Road in the Assawoman Wildlife Area and within a buffer property at the Sussex County Landfill. For more information, or to get your large group involved, please contact Victoria Spice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a non-profit organization established in 1994 and is one of 28 National Estuary Programs. With its many partners, the CIB works to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays–the water that flows into them, and the watershed around them.