Delaware is shaped by water. Wetlands cover 25 percent of the land area in the state and play an important role in supporting wildlife and buffering freshwater areas against salt-water from the ocean.
Many of these fragile habitats, however, fall within the property of private landowners, making stewardship difficult without cooperation from the public.
This has led the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to launch an online mapping tool designed to help private citizens identify and locate wetlands on their property. The Delaware Freshwater Wetland Toolbox allows users to input an address and zoom in on the surrounding area. Wetlands are marked by a brown overlay.
“Delaware is rich in wetlands – no matter where you stand in the state you’re probably no more than a mile away from a wetland,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin in a press release. “Identifying and conserving these natural wetland resources is key to protecting the important functions wetlands provide, and technology such as the new online tool can make such information more readily available to us.”
Landowners can also use the site to make the Wetland Protection Promise, a pledge to help sustain wetlands in the state. Users can receive gifts in exchange for landscaping with native plants, disposing of trash in the proper locations, avoiding building on wetland areas, and volunteering for an annual cleanup or planting event.