Go Green!

Beebe Auxiliary to hold Annual Plant Sale and Family Fun Fest

The 2016 Annual Plant Sale and Family Fun Fest will take place on Saturday, April 23, at East Coast Garden Center in Millsboro, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pet Corner: Families flock to backyard chickens and ducks

Families flock to chickensFamilies flock to chickensIt’s that time of year again… Baby chicks and ducks! If you go into many of the farm feed stores around this time of year, you will likely see a warm red light and hear a lot of cheeping. It is the time of year that the farm feed stores get in their baby chicks and ducks that they offer for sale. Many people in this area have what are commonly called “backyard flocks.”

Now, don’t go running to your local Southern States or Tractor Supply to get yourself a few chicks. One — many of them are sold out of them almost as soon as they come in, and two, they don’t make great house pets.

(Yes, another thing I know from experience — we actually hatched eggs in my suburban Maryland home when my sisters and I were kids. Fortunately, we had a friend who had a small farm and wanted our University of Maryland fancy chickens. All two dozen of them!)

They do make great outdoor pets. They love to eat bugs. They can become quite friendly. They will follow you around the yard. They will dig up your mulch and throw it out of your once-lovely flower beds. (OK — so that’s a downside.)

FEMA rejects South Bethany’s flood map appeal

South Bethany has had trouble stemming the tide. Just as storms battered their protective sand dunes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has completely rejected their appeals to downgrade the new flood insurance rate map (FIRM).

Townsend describes potential for statewide clean-water fee

What would it cost to clean Delaware’s waters?

State Sen. Bryan Townsend said an extra $100 million per year would be nice. But Delaware’s Clean Water Task Force is approaching a more realistic recommendation of $20 million per year to start problem-solving.

Aquaculture still open to public comments

Now is the time to submit final comments about the creation of commercial shellfish aquaculture in the inland bays.

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced that it only seeks to include 343 acres as “Shellfish Aquaculture Development Areas” (SADA) in the inland bays, instead of the 442 acres originally proposed.

Mid-Atlantic council to release ocean data

Good planning starts with good information. That’s why the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) forum met on Jan. 29 to learn about three data-collection projects regarding the Atlantic Ocean.

Hosted in Dewey Beach, with the Rehoboth Bay as a backdrop, the MARCO meeting revolved around one idea: What do we know about the Mid-Atlantic?

Delaware Botanic Gardens awarded $750,000 grant from Longwood Foundation

The Longwood Foundation has approved a $750,000 grant to the Delaware Botanic Gardens to help it begin work on Phase One of the garden, located on Pepper Creek near Dagsboro.

Dunes, trails and sea-level rise all part of ‘Small talk’

Parishioners at one local Catholic church have a moral goal to “protect God’s creation.” When they realized the environmental mission of Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) aligns with their own, they invited the department head to speak at St. Ann Catholic Church in Bethany Beach on Dec. 3.

‘Rock star’ designer coming to local botanical garden

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Piet Oudolf is an international star where gardens are concerned. Here he is being interviewed at Delaware Botanical Gardens on Sunday, Oct. 18. Oudolf has agreed to transform approximately 1.5 acres into a flowing meadow at the gardens.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Piet Oudolf is an international star where gardens are concerned. Here he is being interviewed at Delaware Botanical Gardens on Sunday, Oct. 18. Oudolf has agreed to transform approximately 1.5 acres into a flowing meadow at the gardens.Considered a “rock star” of landscape design, Piet Oudolf has headlined in gardens worldwide. And he’s coming soon to Dagsboro.

With a thick shock of white hair, this Dutch master of meadows toured Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG) the first time on Oct. 18. Located on Pepper Creek, the 37 acres of forest and former soybean fields are waiting to become a world-class public garden a mile east of Dagsboro. Plans call for the first phase to open in 2017.

Oudolf has agreed to transform about 1.5 acres into a colorful, rippling meadow.

“Oudolf is becoming recognized as one of the most transformative garden designers of our time,” stated landscape architect Rodney Robinson. “His influence spans an international scale. I can’t think of a better garden designer to launch the Delaware Botanic Gardens.”

Oudolf’s association with the garden will increase its visibility, said Holly Shimizu, former executive director of the U.S. Botanic Garden.

Corps to pursue new hydrodynamic study of OC inlet

Deciding against using the results of a 17-year old report, which couldn’t include data for events such as Superstorm Sandy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has instead elected to pursue a new hydrodynamic study of the Ocean City Inlet to determine the cause of its constant shoaling.

DNREC workshop reviews proposed beach regulations

The Delaware State Legislature has made a number of changes to the Beach Preservation Act in past decades, and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is now trying to put those changes into action by writing new regulations for beachfront building and use.

Botanic gardens to host native plant lecture Sept. 26

Claudia West, planting designer and ecological sales manager at North Creek Nurseries, will discuss “Wild and Neat: Native Plants that Bridge the Gap between Horticulture and Ecology” on Sept. 26 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Frankford Public Library.

Dumping could close recycling center; neighbors all for it

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: The recycling drop-off at Fresh Pond State Park could be taken away because of people abusing it. To Ocean Village residents, that would be a good thing.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: The recycling drop-off at Fresh Pond State Park could be taken away because of people abusing it. To Ocean Village residents, that would be a good thing.The Bethany Beach area is already at risk of losing the free recycling drop-off at Fresh Pond State Park, due to the tremendous amounts of non-recyclable garbage that is being dumped there.

“We might have to close the facility if we cannot curtail the illegal dumping that has been going on there,” said Mike Parkowski of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA).

But that would suit nearby residents just fine.

Ocean Village is a private neighborhood located across Coastal Highway from Fresh Pond. For them, the “terrible eyesore” of televisions, furniture, construction debris and once, a toilet, is just the beginning.

Ocean Village opposed the recycling center being there even before people started treating the recycling cans as garbage dumpsters, before the lingering food attracted wildlife, which residents said crosses the highway into their neighborhood.

Citizens bring science to the table in effort to Save Beach Cove

Several months and thousands of dollars later, the people who oppose oyster aquaculture in Beach Cove finally have some hard data to support their claims.

As resident James P. Bond said, “The scientific reasons as to why this is a poor location are very convincing.”

This is your final warning: Recycling center could close

A few careless people could ruin things for everyone, as the recycling drop-off at Fresh Pond could close entirely if people continue dumping garbage there.

The Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) maintains 61 recycling drop-off centers in Delaware, but staff have had their fill of picking up mattresses, bicycles, patio furniture and other junk from the Bethany Beach site.

Holts Landing celebrating 50 years with Family Fun Night

Coastal Point • Submitted: Holts Landing State Park offers the area a boat ramp, pier, hiking trails and so much more. The state park will celebrate 50 years with a Outdoor Family Fun Night on Tuesday, June 30, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.Coastal Point • Submitted: Holts Landing State Park offers the area a boat ramp, pier, hiking trails and so much more. The state park will celebrate 50 years with a Outdoor Family Fun Night on Tuesday, June 30, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.Holts Landing State Park may have already seen what seemed like its heyday, but to the state parks system and reinvigorated volunteers, now is the perfect time for a revival. The hidden park near Millville is celebrating its 50th anniversary with Outdoor Family Fun Night on Tuesday, June 30, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Outdoor games will be provided, such as cornhole, horseshoes and ladder golf (in which players attempt to loop a string with two golf balls around a ladder-shaped PVC pipe goal).

Park naturalists will do hands-on activities before the sun sets, including seining for critters in the bay. After dark, they’ll point out stellar constellations in the night sky.

Meanwhile, families can relax and roast marshmallows by a bonfire. Those attending should pack their own picnic dinners, bug spray and blankets for stargazing.

The Back Bay Strummers will bring their strings to perform live music.

FEMA draws a crowd at South Bethany maps meeting

South Bethany Town Hall may never have seemed so small when 100 people tried to fit inside for a public meeting about the future of local flood mapping. Most of them wanted to know exactly why their flood-risk designation changed, and what they can do about it.

Fish & Wildlife police make citations, stress restrictions

DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers on June 1-7 made 1,743 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 129 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 42 complaints and issued 34 citations.

County opposes EPA’s rule relating to ‘Waters of the U.S.’

Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson this week provided an update regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule related to the “Waters of the United States” at the request of Councilman George Cole.

Lawson said the rule was introduced on May 27 and was written in conjunction with the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Good Earth to hold annual arts and crafts festival

Good Earth Market will hold its 8th Annual Arts & Crafts Festival on Saturday, May 30, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the market’s grounds in Clarksville.

Bethany’s Loop Canal gets ‘au naturel’ wetlands restoration

Coastal Point • Laura Walter : To the left is the narrow Loop Canal, to the right, log barriers that will slow the wave action in Salt Pond and help build up this protective strip of land.Coastal Point • Laura Walter : To the left is the narrow Loop Canal, to the right, log barriers that will slow the wave action in Salt Pond and help build up this protective strip of land.A new project along Bethany Beach Loop Canal could see the marsh there slowly restoring itself.

The Delaware Center for Inland Bays has brought the Living Shorelines program to a small chunk of wetlands near the canal, just north of Route 26. By installing pine logs in the shallow water, the CIB hopes to preserve and even rebuild the marsh, naturally.

The goal is to avoid “hardening” shorelines with bulkheads, riprap and seawalls, all of which diminish wildlife, said Sally Boswell, CIB education and outreach coordinator.

In the shallow water, 10- to 20-foot logs were staked in the Salt Pond shallows in a herringbone pattern. It creates a breakwater, so the water is calmer behind the logs on a tiny strip of land that delineates the canal and protects the mainland.

In case you missed it, there have been some changes here

Plenty has happened around the community over the off-season. In case you’ve been out of town, or have just been too busy to stay on top of things, here are some of the items that could most affect your summer season.

James Farm master plan to improve and protect preserve

Special to the Coastal Point • Center for the Inland Bays: This rendering shows some of the plans that organizers hope to accomplish with the James Farm Ecological PreserveSpecial to the Coastal Point • Center for the Inland Bays: This rendering shows some of the plans that organizers hope to accomplish with the James Farm Ecological PreserveChris Bason, executive director of the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays (CIB) spoke to the Sussex County Council earlier this month about their master plan for James Farm Ecological Preserve.

The CIB’s mission is “to promote the wise use and enhancement of the Inland Bays and their watersheds,” in a variety of ways, including restoration, scientific research and educational outreach.

“A big part of our educational program is the James Farm,” said Bason.

James Farm covers 150 acres, located on both sides of Cedar Neck Road, just outside of Ocean View. Bason said it’s a unique preserve in that it has a wide variety of ecosystems that are characteristic to the area.

Time to consider the ‘Climate Framework for Delaware’

It’s time to see what Delaware has come up with to become more resilient to climate change.

The Governor’s Cabinet Committee on Climate & Resiliency (CCoCAR) has written 159 recommendations for reducing greenhouse gases, minimizing flood risks and increasing resilience to climate impacts (such as changes in temperature, precipitation or sea level).

Gardeners by the Sea to hold annual Adopt-a-Hydrangea sale for Mother’s Day

Coastal Point • File Photo: The Gardeners by the Sea will host their third annual hydrangea sale on Saturday, at York Beach Mall in South Bethany, offering a choice of ‘toddler’ and ‘teen’ hydrangeas in baby-boy blue and baby-girl pink, complete with adoption certificates for the new plant parents and gift-recipient moms.Coastal Point • File Photo: The Gardeners by the Sea will host their third annual hydrangea sale on Saturday, at York Beach Mall in South Bethany, offering a choice of ‘toddler’ and ‘teen’ hydrangeas in baby-boy blue and baby-girl pink, complete with adoption certificates for the new plant parents and gift-recipient moms.The Gardeners by the Sea club will hold its third annual hydrangea sale this Mother’s Day weekend. The sale will be held on Saturday, May 9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in front of McCabe’s Gourmet Market in the York Beach Mall in South Bethany. If the club does not sell out of plants on Saturday, they will be selling the remainder on Sunday, May 10, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

At this year’s sale, “toddler” and “teen” hydrangeas will be sold to the public — offering a gift-shopping opportunity for plant-loving mothers.

“We have different sizes this year. They start at $8, and the larger ones will be a little bit more, but not to exceed $16,” said Lisa Arni, who created the sale three years ago. “We have the chemicals to make the hydrangeas ‘pink for girls’ and ‘blue for boys,’ and we’re going to wrap them in pink or blue, and will give out an adoption paper.”

New this year to the sale will be the attendance of a Master Gardener, who will answer any questions those attending may have.

“We’re going to have a Master Gardner at the sale to answer any questions about the hydrangeas or any other gardening questions, which we haven’t had in the past. They can really ask anything when they come,” said Arni, who is a Master Gardener herself.

Delaware has nearly 300 Master Gardeners — who collectively volunteer more than 20,000 hours per year to the Delaware Cooperative Extension’s home horticulture program.

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