Delaware Bay Estuary Project
Northeast Region

Wetland Restoration

The wetlands surrounding Delaware Bay have been recognized for their international significance by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.  The estuary annually winters approximately fifteen species of waterfowl which comprise a population of nearly 500,000 birds and also serves as a key spring staging area for northern pintail.  The Delaware Bay region is a critical migration and wintering area for American Black Duck.  While much of the tidal wetland habitat has been protected under federal, state, and private ownership, much is still grid ditched, invasive species such as phragmites are prevalent, and water quality is compromised due to nonpoint runoff from the surrounding agricultural and residential areas.  Some examples of our work are:

Bear Swamp

Bear Swamp contains a unique plant community that includes one of the last and largest stands of old growth trees in New Jersey including species such as black gum and sweet gum that are estimated to be at least 450 years old.  The forest edge is bordered by a lake that was formed by sand mining operations.  The lakes that result from surface mining are relatively sterile environments unsupportive of wildlife.  Working with partners this area has been restored to emergent wetlands along the lake.  Read more...

wetland restoration

Tax Ditch Wetland Restoration in Delaware

There are over 2,000 miles of tax ditches in Delaware. These are legally-recognized ditches which were constructed to facilitate agriculture in low-lying areas, on the Coastal Plain. Their construction over many decades has resulted in the loss of many thousands of acres of non-tidal wetlands in Delaware. The term "tax ditch" refers to the tax which is levied against farmers whose cropland is drained by such a ditch.  This wetland restoration project represents the first publicly-recorded, legal abandonment of a tax ditch in Delaware's history.   Read more...

tax ditch

Milford Neck

In partnership with The Nature Conservancy's Delaware Chapter, DBEP assisted with the restoration of 33 acres of upland forest and 15 acres of non-tidal wetland habitat within TNC's Milford Neck Preserve in Kent County, Delaware. Read more...

To read a related article about this project, click here.:

milford neck restoration


Last updated: July 18, 2012

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