Chesapeake Conservancy Partners with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to Conserve Land along Wrights Creek

Forested Land in Sussex County Serves as Critical Buffer for Freshwater Tributary to the Nanticoke River

Annapolis, Md. – The Chesapeake Conservancy and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) today announced the conservation of an important parcel of land along Wrights Creek in Sussex County, Del.

The 14-acre property provides more than 2,500 feet of mature forested buffer for Wrights Creek, a freshwater tributary to the Nanticoke River. This property will become part of the Nanticoke Wildlife Area and connect two protected wildlife corridors that were previously separated by private ownership.

The property was purchased using funds from the Delaware Open Space Program and a grant from the Chesapeake Conservancy. The Conservancy’s work on the Nanticoke is supported by the Mt. Cuba Center, which showcases projects like this one that inspire people to participate in conservation and improve the health of habitats and ecosystems.

“As we mark the 25th anniversary of the Delaware Land Protection Act, I am very pleased to announce yet another success story,” DNREC Secretary David Small said. “By partnering with the Chesapeake Conservancy, we were able to leverage our Open Space funding to conserve this critically important, heavily-wooded land along Wrights Creek and expand the Nanticoke Wildlife Area.”

“The Chesapeake Conservancy is very proud to partner again with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to conserve more land in the Nanticoke corridor,” Joel Dunn, executive director of the Chesapeake Conservancy, said. “The conservation of the Wrights Creek property is part of a larger puzzle, helping to complete large landscape conservation in the Nanticoke Corridor.”

“This is a significant parcel of land, as it expands the Nanticoke Wildlife Area, and joins two previously separated sections,” Joanna Ogburn, director of programs for the Chesapeake Conservancy, said. “Many people may not realize that the Nanticoke landscape is home to 180 state or globally rare plant species and more than 70 animal species that are considered rare or uncommon.”

This is the fourth time that the Chesapeake Conservancy and DNREC have collaborated on land conservation projects.  The first occurred in 2013 with the acquisition of a 1.7-acre tract of land that now provides public access to Deep Creek, also a tributary to the Nanticoke River. In 2014, the second project involved the successful acquisition of a 101-acre property west of Bethel, Delaware. This property includes rare plant communities and its conservation will ensure permanent preservation of the landscape along the upper portion of the John Smith Trail. The third project, also in 2014, conserved 17.7 acres of land along Chapel Branch, a tributary to the Nanticoke River in Delaware. 

Additionally, the Chesapeake Conservancy recently earned a $1 million award from the U.S. Department of Defense to conserve land in the Nanticoke River corridor, a part of Naval Air Station Patuxent River’s Atlantic Test Range. The award was made under the nationally competitive 2014 Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Challenge and will enable the continuation of conservation throughout the river corridor.