New Castle County Hosts BMP Maintenance Workshop.

Stormwater Work Shop 6-19-2013 Shane (1)

On Wednesday, June 18, New Castle County hosted a Best Management Practice (BMP) Maintenance Workshop for employees charged with managing and maintaining the BMPs throughout the County.  More than 20 New Castle County employees attended the three hour workshop which consisted of an in-class segment, followed by a hands-on component at a recently installed BMP. The workshop was presented by Shane Morgan, White Clay Creek National Wild and Scenic Rivers Program Manager, and Claudia West, MLA, Ecological Sales Specialist for North Creek Nurseries. This was a pilot workshop, the first in a series of programs we hope to offer to employees of municipal governments, government representatives, landscape contractors, home owner associations, and other organizations interested in learning about why and how we install BMPs, how they function to improve water quality, and how to maintain them so that they operate successfully.

Stormwater Work Shop 6-19-2013 Claudia (4)

The workshop began with an overview of what a watershed is an how water moves through the landscape, connecting what we do on land with the impact our actions have on water quality and quantity.  A more in depth discussion of how plant based BMPs function and look throughout different stages of establishment and seasons, and how to successfully maintain these systems followed.  Questions were taken from the attendees in advance of the workshop so that it could be specifically tailored to the needs and concerns of the county employees.

Stormwater Work Shop 6-19-2013 swales (6)

The second part of the workshop took place at a newly installed vegetated bioswale in Hockessin, DE. The group learned how to monitor planted systems and identify problematic invasive plant species in the field. These skills are essential for proper management and the long term success of stormwater management landscapes.

While this workshop focused on municipal owned BMPs, it's equally important that the public understands that best management practices are not limited to government agencies responsible for meeting water quality standards. These practices are just as applicable to individual property owners as well. We all live in a watershed and any individual action taken to improve water quality however small it may seem, whether it's disconnecting a downspout and installing a rain barrel or rain garden, collectively adds up. If we begin to treat stormwater as a resource, instead of the nuisance we currently perceive it to be, together we can accomplish a lot.

Fairfield Community Habitat Garden

Come out and support the City of Newark in it's efforts to become a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat™. Please bring a small garden trowel and work gloves and come dressed to get dirty! To register to volunteer, or to learn more about this garden please contact Greg Gagliano at the Delaware Nature Society (302) 239-2334 ext:142. Date: Saturday May 19, 2013

Time: 10 a.m.

Location: Fairfield Crest Park, City of Newark, DE Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 12.11.37 PM

Demolition of Curtis Mill smokestack paves way for new park in Newark, Delaware.

Posted: Friday, March 8, 2013 12:42 am By Al Kemp

One of the oldest structures in Newark, the former Curtis Paper Mill smokestack off Paper Mill Road disappeared last week.

In a demolition that seemed gradual and sudden at the same time, crews with steel pry bars ascended on hydraulic lifts and pulled the centuries-old smokestack down – along with the flue inside – sending crumbled bricks crashing to the ground.

By the end of the week, nothing remained on the fenced-in site but a pile of rubble.

The demolition of the former smokestack was a big step forward in Newark’s plan to build a vast network of parkland and trails, city officials said.

While completion of all three phases of the parkland project is years away, officials hope to complete a preliminary plan for the former Curtis Mill site within a week, according to Parks & Recreation Director Charlie Emerson.

“It’s been a long time in coming,” Emerson said. “It’ll really clean up the site, and we’re really excited about what it’ll look like when it’s done.”

Emerson anticipates contracts to build Phase 1 of the park will go out this summer, with work beginning in the fall and continuing into 2014.

Part of that process is the implementation of a remediation plan approved by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control.

The Curtis Mill property is a brownfield site, a name given to former commercial or industrial properties whose redevelopment may be complicated by the presence of environmental hazards.

The Curtis Mill remediation plan involves excavation and relocation of contaminated soil, followed by “capping” with a layer of asphalt.

By late 2014, Emerson said, the seven-acre site on Paper Mill Road will have a parking area, an interpretive kiosk, trail access to White Clay Creek and a restored meadow area planted with native flora.

Phase 1 will cost the city $1.1 million, which was included in the capital budget.

The paper mill was built in 1789 and went through a succession of owners before production ceased in December 1997.

The red-brick smokestack was viewed by some as an eyesore and by others as an icon of the town.

Mayor Vance A. Funk III remembers well the day the smokestack quit smoking.

“Some people would say it’s something worth saving because of the historical value,” he said.

However, structural problems as well as hazardous materials made restoration of the smokestack a losing proposition, financially.

Emerson said a lot of thought was given to saving the red bricks from the smokestack, but most of them were far too fragile.

Still, some vestige of the old smokestack will be salvaged, he said.

“We are saving about four pallets of bricks for use in the plaza area,” he said.

The second phase of the master park plan will include improvements to Kershaw Park, a small piece of land directly across the creek from the paper mill site. The land is currently home to a gravel parking lot.

The third and final phase is the most ambitious and consists of the development of a large piece of land off Old Paper Mill Road, which was bought by the city decades ago but has remained an open field.

Slated for the site is a 45-car parking lot, a multi-use turf field, a ball wall court, a playground, a bicycle jump park, walking trails and a picnic pavilion. It would also include a skate spot, which is a small area with concrete jumps for skateboarders.

Follow reporter Al Kemp on Twitter: @Al_NewarkPost

Check out photos on Newark Post Online.