AUDIO: DNREC, Chesapeake Conservancy, U.S. Navy partner to acquire property for Sussex County's Nanticoke Wildlife Area
By David Alessandrini

Updated Wednesday, August 10, 2016 - 2:15am

State of Delaware, the Chesapeake Conservancy, the U.S. Navy and DNREC purchase 48 acres of woodlands along a tributary of the Nanticoke River.
Through a partnership between the State of Delaware, the Chesapeake Conservancy, the U.S. Navy, and DNREC, 48 acres of woodlands along a tributary of the Nanticoke River have been purchased as part of the Nanticoke Initiative.

The property adjoining Cod Creek features increasingly rare stands of Atlantic white cedar trees and an abundance of native wildlife, including some species of conservation concern.

U.S. Navy Captain Scott Starkey explained how this project affects their operations.

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"Our mission is research development, testing evaluation. So, we're testing the new aircraft, testing the new systems on the aircraft, and in order to do our mission out here we have to have a radar that can reach out here. So by protecting the environment and by protecting the air-space that we have out here, it's a win-win for both groups."

The addition will be managed to protect wildlife habitats while allowing future conservation-compatible public access.

Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn said there is a larger vision in sight.

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"Our goal is to create a 8,500 acre corridor, from Delaware down into Maryland that people can kayak, canoe, boat, bass fish and experience the Chesapeake as John Smith did 408 years ago and just like the Native Americans."

The Cod Creek property was purchased for $206,529, with $58,000 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Defense's Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program, $68,529 in state funds from Delaware's Open Space Program and $80,000 in private funds from the Chesapeake Conservancy.

In addition to conserving wildlife habitat and allowing species room to adapt to climate change, the plan will ultimately enhance low-impact outdoor recreation and eco-tourism opportunities for Delawareans and visitors in the area.

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