2020 Summer Estuary News

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A Boom in Birdwatching


Celebrating the Life of Dr. Carl N. Shuster, Jr.


The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary Connecting people, science, and nature for a healthy Delaware River and Bay



Newsletter of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary - Host of the Delaware Estuary Program

Oyster Industry Falls on Hard Times Due to COVID-19

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NEWS SUMMER SUMMER2020 2018 VOL. VOL.3028| NO. | NO.3 2


Environmental Justice Cannot Exist Without Social Justice Dear Friends, I hope that you are doing well. The events of the past few months have challenged all of us at the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary to think about the work that we do and how we can do a better of job helping to break down the barriers of historical and current inequities. The revised Delaware Estuary Program’s Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) acknowledges environmental justice as an overarching need that must be considered for all aspects of implementing strategies in the Plan. We know that environmental justice cannot exist without social justice. In the Strong Communities section of the CCMP, we acknowledge that to be successful, we must do a much better job reaching out to and engaging with underserved communities, and those subjected to environmental injustice. The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and all the Delaware Estuary Program partners recognize that standard approaches to the way environmental efforts have historically been organized have created barriers to diverse groups’ engagement. We are committed to finding ways to remove or overcome these barriers. One initiative created to break down these barriers is the Delaware River Urban Waters Partnership Program. The Urban Waters Partnership is a national program in 19 locations established for reconnecting urban communities, particularly those that are overburdened or economically distressed with their waterways, by improving coordination among federal agencies. Each Urban Waters location C O M M I T E E S C O N TA C T L I S T

collaborates with local community-led revitalization efforts to improve water systems and to realize economic, environmental, and social benefits. I am excited to announce that earlier this year, the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary took on the role of coordinating this effort for our watershed. We are working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish, and Wildlife Service, and many other partners to connect and serve urban communities in Philadelphia, Camden, Chester, and Wilmington. We will be sure to keep you updated on our work. Information about this effort is available at http://www.delawareestuary.org/ save-the-estuary/urban-waters/. In reading this issue of Estuary News, you might notice something new. To better connect readers of Estuary News to the revised CCMP, articles that celebrate work about improved water quality and overall environmental health in the Estuary, now have a CCMP notation at the end of the story. This notation highlights the CCMP theme (Clean Waters, Healthy Habitats, or Strong Communities), goal, and strategy. The success of realizing the needs identified in the CCMP requires a team effort, so we want to celebrate and thank everyone who is helping to take care of our region’s diverse habitats, waterways, and communities. Each one of you plays an essential role in this journey, and we are grateful for your involvement. Enjoy the rest of the summer, and most importantly, please stay healthy.

Kathy Klein, Executive Director Partnership for the Delaware Estuary

Meetings conducted by the Delaware Estuary Program’s implementation and advisory committees occur on a regular basis and are open to the public. For meeting dates and times, please contact the individuals listed below: Estuary Implementation Committee Kathy Klein, Executive Director (Chair) (800) 445-4935, ext. 102 kklein@DelawareEstuary.org Monitoring Advisory & Coordination Committee Elaine Panuccio, Water Restoration Scientist, Water Quality Assessment Delaware River Basin Commission (609) 883-9500, ext. 307 elaine.panuccio@drbc.gov

Toxics Advisory Committee Ron MacGillivray, Ph.D. Senior Environmental Toxicologist Delaware River Basin Commission (609) 883-9500, ext. 257 ron.macgillivray@drbc.gov Science and Technical Advisory Committee Danielle Kreeger, Ph.D. Senior Science Director (800) 445-4935, ext. 104 dkreeger@DelawareEstuary.org

Water Quality Advisory Committee John Yagecic, P.E., Manager, Water Quality Assessment Delaware River Basin Commission (609) 883-9500, ext. 271 john.yagecic@drbc.nj.gov FOLLOW US ON:

ON THE COVER S haughn Juckett, Cape May Salt Oysters Farm Manager, keeps rows of oyster bags clean. Photo Courtesy of Atlantic Capes Fisheries SUMMER 2020 | VOLUME 30 | ISSUE 3





Share Your Estuary Success Story! Photo by Iris Burt, Haskin Research Shellfish Laboratory at Rutgers University

By Emily Baumbach, Estuary Program Coordinator, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) invites organizations from across the watershed to share their success stories as to how their projects and programs are progressing towards clean waters, healthy habitats, and strong communities. Spanning from Trenton to Cape May, New Jersey, and Cape Henlopen, Delaware, the Delaware Estuary sustains a wide variety of habitats as well as diverse communities of fish, wildlife, and people. To guide the efforts of environmental organizations and agencies across the region, the Delaware Estuary Program’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) is in place to protect the tidal Delaware River and Bay. The 2019 CCMP is the result of collaboration among hundreds of scientists, Tell us what you’re doing in the Delaware Estuary for clean water, healthy habitats, and strong communities, and you could be a winner! experts, and stakeholders and a three-year revision process. It includes 39 strategies for clean waters, healthy habitats, and strong communities in the Estuary. Last year, more than 20 different organizations from across the region submitted over 250 activities related to watershed improvements. A few highlights include 9,000 square feet of installed rain gardens, 1,600 acres of restored forest habitat, 1,000 acres of enhanced or protected wetlands, and more than 30,000 attendees who participated in events related to awareness and engagement in the Delaware Estuary. Please let us know what your organization is doing to help benefit the millions of people who live, work, and play across the watershed! PDE will award prizes to partners who submit projects that made large-scale, high impact improvements. Prizes include: ¡¡ 1st Prize – 1 partner will have a photo on the cover page with an associated story in the next issue of Estuary News. ¡¡ 2nd Prize – 3 partners will have stories showcasing their organization’s projects in the next issue of Estuary News. ¡¡ 3rd Prize – The first 10 partners to submit activities will receive PDE swag bags with gift cards, candy, and PDE apparel. Please submit your projects by Friday, Sept. 4. You can submit your information by going to delawareestuary.org/our-plan or emailing ebaumbach@delawareestuary.org for more information. S PARTNERSHIP FOR THE DELAWARE ESTUARY





Water Quality Monitoring in the Delaware River Watershed: Local Nonprofits Work Together to Monitor Water Quality For the past six years, nonprofits have worked together across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware as part of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI). The DRWI is a collaborative network of organizations working to protect and restore forests, farms, and urban green spaces for the benefit of water quality. In South Jersey, nine nonprofits are working together with funding from the William Penn Foundation to protect the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer, a groundwater system of 17 trillion gallons of water Pinelands Preservation Alliance takes a water quality sample in that serves as a source of drinking water for about 1 Brendan T. Byrne State Forest. million people in South Jersey. To understand how healthy our waterways are and to track changes in water quality, the American the group has installed four data sensors to take Littoral Society, Pinelands Preservation Alliance, and continuous water quality measurements, including South Jersey Land and Water Trust collect samples temperature and turbidity. Turbidity is an indicator of of water four times a year from local streams that how many particles are in the water, like sediment, are connected to the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer. that may carry pollutants and block light needed for This sampling effort began in 2018 and includes plants to grow. Sensors are in the Salem, Cohansey, measuring temperature, dissolved oxygen, and and Maurice River Watersheds, and real-time data is conductivity. Collected samples are sent to the available here: http://monitormywatershed.org/browse/. Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University A few ways you can keep streams clean and healthy: in Philadelphia for advanced laboratory analysis ¡¡ Reduce fertilizer use in your yard. Fertilizers contain to measure nitrogen and phosphorus. Together, nutrients like nitrogen that, when applied in excess, these measurements tell us about the health of our can wash into nearby streams. waterways, help us understand changes that may be taking place, and identify locations that could ¡¡ Sign up for a homeowner workshop for expert advice benefit from restoration. (and financial assistance, in select areas) to install a High levels of nitrogen and phosphorus can rain garden in your yard. lead to a condition called eutrophication, where ¡¡ Plant native plants, which require less water and excessive amounts of nutrients in water can cause reduce demand on the aquifer. algal blooms. Algal blooms can be harmful to human health and can deprive aquatic wildlife of For more information on water quality parameters and the oxygen they need to survive. what you can do to help, visit: https://s3.amazonaws. South Jersey organizations are working closely com/delawareestuary/AquiferBrochureFINAL.pdf S with Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Rutgers This article originally appeared as a blog post for South Jersey Water Savers. University Water Resources Program, Stroud Water Research Center, and the Academy This article relates to the Delaware Estuary Program’s Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan of Natural Sciences on this endeavor. To GOAL Reduce Nutrient Pollution and date, they have collected 130 samples. 1 Its Impacts Analyzing those samples will help the partners understand the chemistry behind STRATEGY Conduct research and monitoring on nutrient impacts in the Delaware Estuary water quality trends in these streams. for biological and ecological endpoints W1.5 In addition to collecting water samples, SUMMER 2020 | VOLUME 30 | ISSUE 3




Photo Courtesy of Pinelands Preservation Alliance

By Kaitlin Tucker, Coastal Watersheds Coordinator Partnership for the Delaware Estuary


When the doors swish open at ChristianaCare’s new Center for Women’s & Children’s Health, you look around, and there’s something familiar. Accents in the flooring are the color of sand – almost as if they are sand. Abundant windows provide plenty of natural light, and the walls have pictures of beaches, water lilies, and sand dollars. The color scheme with its blues, purples, and greens provides a tranquil mood. ChristianaCare’s new eight-story building The artwork and soothing color palette throughout ChristianaCare’s new Center for opened on April 27. Women’s & Children’s Health are inspired by the Delaware Estuary. PDE Executive Director Kathy Klein worked with ChristianaCare on the theme and aspects of the decor. It welcomes women, children, and families with a transformative new model of enhance the center’s welcoming environment. The care in a beautiful new space. The Estuary inspired new center includes artwork that was inspired by the building’s ambiance and décor. winning pictures from one of PDE’s photo contests. “The representations of Delaware’s natural “Because estuaries are often called nurseries beauty give a peaceful sense of being outdoors of the seas, an estuary theme for a building that in a warmly designed indoor setting,” said Sharon nurtures babies, children and families was a Kurfuerst, system chief operating officer for fantastic choice for the décor of this new space,” ChristianaCare, about the Estuary theme. Klein said. Plans for the $260 million building began in 2015. Each of the center’s floors features different The 400,000 square-foot center at ChristianaCare’s aspects of the Delaware Estuary: plant and animal Newark, Delaware campus includes a state-of-thelife, grasses, creeks, streams, and beach shorelines. art neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), featuring ChristianaCare’s caregivers had a hand in choosing private rooms that have sleep-in space for families. what artwork would be on the floor where they The Ronald McDonald Family Room is a spacious work, Kurfuerst said. multi-level area to support families with infants who “I love the bright colors and how each space are in intensive care. has its own palette,” said Lauri Littleton, a nurse “As we were talking about the décor and manager at the center. “The chosen photography environment we wanted to create in the building, and art truly capture familiar elements of Delaware we wanted to do something that celebrated and reflect them in this new, beautiful space.” our connection to life in Delaware, and we were Kurfuerst’s favorite part of the building is really looking for something that was calm and Reflection Hallway, one of the large common areas comforting, connected to nature,” Kurfuerst said. cont’d on p12 Kathy Klein, Executive Director for Partnership for the Delaware Estuary This article relates to the Delaware Estuary Program’s Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan (PDE), contacted ChristianaCare and GOAL Improve Public Awareness and suggested the Delaware Estuary 2 Stakeholder Engagement theme. Klein guided ChristianaCare officials on what plants and animals are STRATEGY Through marketing and communications, native to the Estuary and what images awareness and brand for the Delaware River and Bay C2.1 build and artwork would be soothing and PARTNERSHIP FOR THE DELAWARE ESTUARY




Photo: Courtesy of ChristianaCare.

Delaware Estuary is the Theme of ChristianaCare’s New Women’s & Children’s Health Center


Oyster Industry Falls on Hard Times Due to COVID-19





Photo: Courtesy of Atlantic Capes Fisheries

Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Calvo.

Barney Hollinger is silt, among other factors. Overall, a fourth-generation the company had oyster farmer. He has expected to move worked in the business 150,000 oysters for more than 45 per week in March years and is Special and April but Projects Manager only moved 6,000 for Cape May Salt to 8,000 oysters Oyster Farm, owned per week on the by Atlantic Cape wholesale market. Fisheries. He and New Jersey has other oyster farmers the majority of the around the country oyster farms in the Ian Stasko at sunset. Stasko is a hand at an oyster farm in the southern and in the Delaware Delaware Bay. Delaware Estuary Estuary have suffered region. The unprecedented Delaware Department of Natural Resources and economic losses this year due to COVID-19. Environmental Control (DNREC) last year issued When restaurants closed for safety precautions, 12 commercial shellfish leases. Pennsylvania has demand for oysters plummeted, leaving oyster no oyster farms. businesses with a surplus of product. “It’s a collapse of the market, so it’s a supply “There were just no sales,” Hollinger said. chain breach,” said Lisa Calvo, Aquaculture “We sold nothing during the first week of that Program Coordinator for the Haskin Shellfish shutdown.” Research Laboratory at Rutgers University and As the pandemic impacted restaurant operations, some growers have reported a 90 percent market loss, said Russ Babb, Bureau Chief of the Marine Fisheries Administration for the New Jersey Bureau of Shellfisheries. Others have reported a slow but steady rebound over the past six weeks, particularly over the past few weeks, but most still find themselves below their normal sales levels. Hollinger said Cape May Salt Oyster Farms had 600,000 oysters ready to go for sale during the first week in March, and throughout the season, it would have had another 4 million oysters ready to reach market price. Atlantic Capes Fisheries typically sells around the country, as well as regionally, but was faced with the difficult decision to sell the bulk of that inventory to shucking houses for a loss of 43 to 45 cents per Melissa Harabedian of Cape May Salt Oyster Farms and oyster, rather than “bottom-plant” the surplus Atlantic Capes Fisheries uses a pacer pump to clean mud off shell stock (put oysters on a lease for dredging the bags used to grow oysters. later), and risk high mortality from predators and

Photo: Courtesy of Atlantic Capes Fisheries

Marine Scientist at Act specifically for Rutgers. “Without fisheries disaster that revenue, that relief. Hollinger is on impacts your ability a state committee to put people out that will help New into the field to tend Jersey allocate the farm.” CARES funds. Recently, the DNREC does not yet Virginia Agricultural have final figures on Research and how much Delaware’s Extension Centers oyster industry will at Virginia Tech receive from the University and the CARES Act. Ohio State University New Jersey will Extension initiated distribute direct an online survey of A deckhand on the Stormy Bay, a vessel in the Cape May Salt Oyster payments from Farm Fleet, loads future Stormy Bay Oysters onto a conveyor which U.S. aquaculture, the CARES Act to feeds a tumbler that sorts oysters by size. Stormy Bay Oysters are aquaponics, and grown deep in Delaware Bay in off-bottom cages. fisheries-related allied businesses to businesses that have capture and quantify seen a greater than 35 percent losses in revenue the effects of COVID-19 on the industry. About (averaged over the last five years) due to COVID90 percent of respondents said the pandemic 19. Companies that also received other financial impacted them between March 23 to April 10. aid will have to claim that money before receiving About 80 percent said they had sales orders or contracts from private companies canceled. Sales CARES dollars. The assistance will not only go to losses ranged from less than $1,000 to $5 million. oyster farms in New Jersey, but other commercial Oysters can be prepared and served any fisheries, including charter boat owners, bait and number of ways, but most businesses sell oysters tackle shops, and those who fish for clams, squid, for the raw bar market — restaurants that serve scallops, and other seafood. Hollinger said final oysters on the half shell. Prime oyster size for that allocation is forthcoming. market is between 2.5 and 3 inches. Beyond that, Rutgers recently received a $70,000 COVID-19 an oyster is undesirable, because it’s considered Rapid Response Grant from the National Oceanic to be too large to eat. and Atmospheric Administration, through its Sea As the pandemic has evolved, Babb said, Grant program, which will support purchasing oyster growers have had to adapt in a variety of large oysters from New Jersey oyster farmers for areas. They’re managing already tight space on habitat restoration projects. their farms for oysters that they haven’t been able “We’re hoping this pilot program will develop to harvest. At the same time, farmers are trying to into a long-term initiative that will link habitat plan to deploy new seed oysters from hatcheries restoration programs with farmers who grow for their 2021 seasons. oysters,” said Calvo, who is leading the project. Calvo said that spring harvest revenue is About $50,000 will go toward the purchase usually a jumping-off point for farmers to prepare of more than 75,000 oysters. Participating for the rest of the year by buying seed oysters, organizations, including Partnership for the gear, and other necessities. Babb said many Delaware Estuary, will work with the state of New growers this year are unable to hire seasonal help. As a result of all these impacts, many oyster Jersey to determine where to put the oysters to create habitat. Purchase and placement could producers have had to get creative by adjusting happen this fall. The project is a win for the prices, deferring harvest, or simply finding new environment and a win for shellfish farmers who ways to sell and market their products. will have the opportunity to diversify their sales. S The good news is, there is financial aid available. Some businesses qualify for the federal Payroll Protection Program and This article relates to the Delaware Estuary Program’s Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan from Economic Injury Disaster Loan GOAL Increase and Improve Fish and funds. The New Jersey Department 3 Shellfish Habita of Environmental Protection Marine Fisheries Administration will STRATEGY Restore oyster beds and productivity in receive $11.2 million in funding this H3.2 and around the Delaware Bay summer from the Federal CARES PARTNERSHIP FOR THE DELAWARE ESTUARY





A Boom in Birdwatching: Staying at Home Created an Increased It starts with a window, a lot of time at home, and common backyard birds. You see robins, cardinals, finches, blue jays, sparrows, and wrens in trees and at feeders. From there, you might move onto owls, herons, shorebirds, and hawks. Before you know it, you’re a birder. Since people started sheltering in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve looked for things to do and found the joy of birding. National and regional birding organizations saw statistical increases in birding through events and technology, as well as through anecdotal evidence. Chandler Lennon, Communications Manager for the Atlantic Flyway of the National Audubon Society, said the organization saw increases website traffic on Audubon.org in March and April. Lennon said the increases coincided with pandemic-related stay-at-home orders in March and April. As the orders continued into May, people began to notice more birds during spring migration. “They’re looking for distractions in places other than the news and whatever their work may be,” said John Cecil, Vice President for Stewardship for New Jersey Audubon of the increases in birding. Similarly, Jeffrey Gordon, President of the American Birding Association (ABA), headquartered

in Delaware City, Delaware, has had more requests for media interviews about the increase in activity, and the ABA has had more podcast downloads and use of online resources. “It makes all kinds of sense,” Gordon said. “People are stuck closer to home. I think one of the bright sides of the whole regrettable thing is people are realizing the importance of nature. It’s really not a frill as people tend to cast it as. When the chips are down, that’s one of the things that you really want.” This year saw the first Black Birders Week, held May 31 to June 5. New Jersey Audubon supported

“I think one of the bright sides of the whole regrettable thing is people are realizing the importance of nature. It’s really not a frill as people tend to cast it as.” —Jeffrey Gordon the week through social media and speaking engagements, and the ABA was supportive as well. “I would say birding or birdwatching has had issues in the past as being largely white and largely older,” Gordon said, adding that organizations like the ABA have seen this as a problem and tried various kinds of outreach to diversify the birding community. Addressing diversity issues has been front and center for New Jersey Audubon, and there has been some improvement. The organization has been trying to bring in people from different walks of life. Technology has provided more opportunities for people to engage with





More people turned to birding during the height of the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders last spring.

Number of Birders birding. National Audubon’s website traffic increased on its Audubon’s Joy of Birds site and Audubon for Kids. Audubon experienced a 32 percent increase in birding between March 2019 and March 2020 and a 51 percent increase between April 2019 and April 2020. There was an increase in downloads on some of its birding apps -- a more than 100 percent increase in installations of its Audubon Bird Guide app between February and March. National Audubon also launched I Saw a Bird: Audubon’s Spring Migration Show – a weekly Zoom/Facebook show to connect birdwatchers. Lillian Armstrong, Special Events Director for New Jersey Audubon, said some of the organization’s annual events went virtual this year and had higher than usual participation. The May 9 World Series of Birding, a statewide competition for who can see the most birds in 24 hours, had 628 registered participants

compared to 400 participants in recent years. The Cape May Spring Festival, held virtually on May 23 and 24, had a 10 to 20 percent higher registration than at previous in-person celebrations. Afterward, 40 percent of survey respondents said they were motivated to register for the festival based on a newfound interest in birding. “I have seen all the positive press drawing attention to birds and the benefits of birdwatching during the pandemic,” Armstrong said. “It’s certainly a silver lining for those of us who work so hard to connect people with nature.” S This article relates to the Delaware Estuary Program’s Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan



Improve Public Awareness and Stakeholder Engagement

and promote programs with STRATEGY Develop local communities and partners that





foster volunteer stewardship and experiential learning



Exelon and PDE Partner to Explore Living Shoreline Feasibility in the Tidal Delaware River By Danielle Kreeger, Science Director, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is delighted to announce that it will partner with Exelon Generation to explore whether living shorelines can be developed in freshwater along the Delaware River in Croydon, Pennsylvania. With funding from Exelon and assistance from the company’s employees, this year PDE plans to this year perform a survey of baseline physical and biological conditions in the area. The team will then consider options for developing a naturebased living shoreline project on Exelon property. The next steps will depend on outcomes in Phase I of the project and PDE scientists and Exelon employees discuss existing conditions and future funding to construct the project. possible living shoreline options in front of the Croydon Generating If successful, PDE expects that the new Station along the Delaware River. Croydon living shoreline will enhance ecological conditions, improve water freshwater marsh plants. quality, strengthen coastal resilience, and provide PDE works with funders and partners to identify critical scientific lessons to guide other projects in project goals, assess pre-existing conditions, and the region. then use scientific information to tailor design Living shorelines are nature-based tactics that every project. Most of the 20-plus treatments help stem erosion and enhance environmental PDE has tried have been successful at reducing conditions along vulnerable or degraded tidal waterfronts. They are preferable to traditional erosion, enhancing water quality, and improving erosion controls such as bulkheads and rip rap fish and wildlife habitat. because they improve, rather than degrade, Over the past five years, PDE has explored ways ecological integrity. The method works by to expand its Delaware Estuary Living Shoreline modifying the physical conditions to improve Initiative into Camden, New Jersey; Wilmington, habitat for the dominant local plants and animals. Delaware; and Philadelphia. To our knowledge, Sparse or non-existent beds of shellfish and living shorelines have not yet developed for plants provide little to no wave buffering or other freshwater tidal areas, especially in urban areas benefits. But when they become lush, they can cross a tipping point where the animals and plants where shoreline conditions typically are degraded due to past stabilization practices, industrial themselves become habitat and provide diverse development, and pollution. Rather than shy away benefits. from a challenge, PDE believes that urban living For the past 15 years, PDE has worked with shorelines can improve conditions for people and many partners to design, test, and monitor new types of living shorelines in saltwater areas the environment, especially in industrial waterfront around the Delaware Bay and elsewhere, using areas that have a history of environmental the resilient natural properties of salt marsh injustices. S plants, oysters, and ribbed mussels. This article relates to the Delaware Estuary Program’s Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan Every location has a unique mix of challenges and opportunities. Living GOAL shorelines should also be possible 1 Prevent Wetland Loss in freshwater if they focus on a and implement natural and natureSTRATEGY Develop based techniques to stabilize and restore different cast of freshwater-adapted shorelines, and to build and protect H1.3 eroding animals and plants, such as freshwater wetlands, infrastructure, and other key resources mussels, submerged plants, and tidal SUMMER 2020 | VOLUME 30 | ISSUE 3

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Celebrating the life of Dr. Carl N. Shuster, Jr. On May 28, Carl N. Shuster, Jr., Ph.D., renowned “founding father” of horseshoe crab science, died in his Arlington, Virginia home at age 100. Glenn Gauvry, founder and director of the Ecological Research & Development Group (ERDG), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of the world’s four horseshoe crab species, remembers the first time he met Carl in 1996. He stopped for lunch at a local convenience store in Broadkill Beach, Delaware. The store owner told Gauvry that an older man Carl N. Shuster, had been in and purchased a few of the Jr., Ph.D., regarded as the group’s “Just flip ‘em!™” T-shirts and left a founding father small pewter horseshoe crab pin along with of horseshoe crab his card. Gauvry was astonished to read the science, died May name of the world’s authority on horseshoe 28, 2020. crabs, Carl N. Shuster, Ph.D. Gauvry found the courage to call this remarkable man who had dedicated his life to unraveling Distinguished Flying Cross for his service. Upon returning the mysteries of the horseshoe crab. To his relief, a warm from the war, Carl undertook graduate work at Rutgers under the guidance of oyster expert Thurlow Nelson, and inviting voice greeted him. They talked for quite Ph.D., who, one day, as Carl later recounted, provided some time about horseshoe crabs and ended with Carl him with a “jar of gunk” and told him to “study this.” inviting Gauvry on a road trip to introduce him to others That jar of gunk contained the eggs, embryos, and whom he felt could be helpful in the advancement associated bay-bottom detritus of Limulus, and the rest of ERDG’s conservation efforts. On the journey that became history. summer, they talked about horseshoe crabs and how After finishing his degree at Rutgers, Carl conducted their lives had led them on their current paths. Carl’s relaxed and unpretentious manner of sharing information horseshoe crab research at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory and then at New York University, was like lounging in a comfortable chair with a good where he earned his Ph.D. At various stages of his book. They were friends ever since. For over 70 years, Carl devoted his extraordinary career, Carl was Director of the University of Delaware energy, sharply focused mind, and an exceptional Marine Laboratories, acted as Director of the Northeast capacity for scientific insight into studying the biology Shellfish Sanitation Research Laboratory, worked for and ecology of the American Horseshoe Crab, Limulus the Environmental Protection Agency, served as Chief polyphemus. Along the way, Carl authored hundreds of Environmental Advisor to the Federal Energy Regulatory scientific articles, presented at innumerable regional, Commission, and assumed the position of Adjunct national, and international conferences, and contributed Professor (and on retirement “Professor Emeritus”) at the substantially to the cause of education and conservation College of William & Mary. of this species. In 2001, in recognition of Carl’s outstanding As sometimes happens in science, Carl got his start contributions to the field of horseshoe crab science working with horseshoe crabs serendipitously. After cont’d on p14 growing up a farm boy in central New This article relates to the Delaware Estuary Program’s Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan Jersey, he attended Rutgers University, with plans to pursue a career in the GOAL Increase and Improve Fish and science of farm animals. After receiving 3 Shellfish Habitat his undergraduate degree in 1942, Carl’s STRATEGY Protect and restore horseshoe crabs and education was interrupted by World War II. As a navigator in the U.S. Air Force, he H3.4 their habitat flew 27 missions over Europe, earning the PARTNERSHIP FOR THE DELAWARE ESTUARY

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Photo: Courtesy of Glenn Gauvry

By Glenn Gauvry, President, Ecological Research Development Group and Gary Kreamer, Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife (retired)


PDE and Haskin Shellfish Research Lab Install New Living Shoreline by Maurice River When the breeze sweeps across PDE Restoration Program Manager Joshua Moody and Ellie Rothermel, New Jersey’s Maurice River, even a PDE’s new Science Technical Analyst, stack composite material blocks that help create a living shoreline along the Maurice River in New Jersey. hot June day is downright pleasant. On the riverbank, a crew of scientists from Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory at Rutgers University lugged composite material blocks and heavy bags of recycled oyster shells to create a new living shoreline and oyster habitat. Despite the treacherously slippery conditions at the river bank, with mud deep enough to suck wading boots right off a person’s feet and sink them to their knees, PDE Restoration Projects Manager Josh Moody, Ph.D., and crew members walked surefooted across the terrain. Slowly but surely, they stacked the materials into alternating diamond and square castle-like formations. The composite blocks, produced by Allied Concrete, are made of limestone and ground oyster shells. The crew installed the living shoreline from June 29 to July 1 in Bivalve, New Jersey. PDE Science Director Danielle Kreeger, Ph.D., and Haskin Shellfish Research Lab Director Dave Bushek, Ph.D., started the project when they co-wrote a grant application aimed at exploring a way to maximize shellfish recruitment on living shorelines by investigating a variety of materials and their configurations. The use of both the composite material and recycled shells could help answer two questions: do shellfish reefs build faster and more densely on different types of materials, and does the configuration of the elements play a role as well? The diamond and square shapes are to help scientists find out if they do a better job of trapping and retaining mud to build elevation, stem erosion, This article relates to the Delaware Estuary Program’s Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan and enhance vegetation than bags laid GOAL Increase and Improve Fish and single file. 1 Shellfish Habitat The PDE and Haskin crew will and implement natural and naturemonitor the living shoreline over the STRATEGY Develop based techniques to stabilize and restore coming years to check erosion and eroding shorelines, and to build and protect H1.3 wetlands, infrastructure, and other key resources habitat growth. S TIDINGS

New Women’s & Children’s Health Center cont’d from p5 where families can spend time. This peaceful space features cozy seating and three recessed ovals in the wall, one for each of Delaware’s counties, that have embedded pictures of wildlife. Wendy J. Sturtz, M.D., a neonatologist at the center, likes the peaceful estuary theme as well. “There is a simple beauty to the surroundings that inspires hope,” Sturtz said. “The thoughtful photos, such as the sunrise at the NICU entrance, remind me that the sun will come up tomorrow, take one day at a time — lessons that are helpful to both staff and families on difficult days in the NICU.” Kurfuerst said that Klein and PDE were terrific partners, which made the planning and implementation process easy, and that the warm and soothing environment represents that collaboration. S


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Digging Deeper: How to Make Your Yard Sarah Bouboulis, Habitat Project Coordinator, Shine for Lightning Bugs ByPartnership for the Delaware Estuary Q: I enjoy seeing lightning bugs in my backyard in the summer. How can I attract and support these insects in my garden? — LeeAnn, Quinton, New Jersey A. Lightning bugs (or fireflies) are one of the

Lightning bugs require undisturbed habitats at all levels Like — ground cover, herbanative plants? ceous plants, grasses, and trees. Watch “Wonderful Plant Besides providWednesday” with Sarah ing habitat, it is also Bouboulis on Facebook important to not use Live at 3:30 p.m. each pesticides or fertilizer, Wednesday. as both could either harm lightning bugs directly, affect their prey source, or change the soil composition in ways that are uninhabitable. Finally, light pollution can be a big concern, as it can often confuse adults, making reproduction hard (the blinking lights help attract mates). If you can turn off outside lights at night, it could give your local firefly population a boost! In summary, leave your leaves, plant native plants, turn off outdoor lights, and avoid pesticides and fertilizers to give your local population of fireflies a fighting chance! If you have questions about this, or anything else gardening related, contact Sarah Bouboulis at sbouboulis@delawareestuary.org. Also, check out Perennial Pages on the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary’s website. S

sure signs of summer! And, unfortunately, their populations are in decline. The main threats to fireflies are habitat loss, light pollution, pesticides, and climate change. It’s great to consider these bright beetles when planning your garden. Here in the Delaware Estuary, we have many species of lightning bugs, and therefore, habitat requirements may vary. For brevity, I will focus on general landscape features. For more detailed information check out the Xerces Society publication Jewels of the Night: Conservation of Fireflies in the U.S and Canada. Even though we love lightning bugs for their luminous aerial displays, they spend most of their lives in the ground. Larvae are flightless predators and live in the ground and in leaf litter feeding on a variety of creatures (there are a few species that live in ant nests). Creating areas where the land is left undisturbed from mowing or walking is an excellent benefit for lightning bugs. Mulched spots with leaves, and unmowed native plant gardens/meadows are good examples of This article relates to the Delaware Estuary Program’s Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan where lightning bugs could thrive. Once GOAL Increase and Improve Fish and they are adults, lightning bugs use taller 3 Shellfish Habitat plants for perching and flight launch and occasionally eat flower nectar. Some and improve populations STRATEGY Manage of rare, endangered, or otherwise species roost and burrow under tree important native species in the Delaware H3.5 Estuary bark. So, the answer here is diversity!

Keeping a healthy yard can make a healthy habitat for lightning bugs.


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Dr. Carl N. Shuster, Jr.

Carl Shuster imparting information about horseshoe crabs.

and conservation, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission set aside hundreds of square miles in the Atlantic Ocean off the New Jersey and Delaware coasts as the “Carl N. Shuster, Jr., Horseshoe Crab Reserve” as part of their coastwide management plan for horseshoe crabs. By protecting a large population of overwintering adult and sub-adult horseshoe crabs from harvest, this reserve has played a huge role in helping rebuild and sustain spawning capacities of Limulus. One could describe Carl as an ecological generalist. His capacity for applying a broad sweep of scientific knowledge and real-life, natural history-based experience, along with a grounded, common-sense approach to issues, were his trademarks. These traits enabled him to identify meaningful pathways for research and postulate unique and logical explanations to patterns observed, that – in this time of scientist specialization – it is hard to imagine anyone else achieving. One of his favorite mantras to young people during their first encounter with horseshoe crabs was, “if you really want to know this animal, you’ve got to get down on the beach, eyeball to eyeball with it.” In this vein, Carl redirected his vast knowledge and passion for horseshoe crabs to another cause – education. In 2000, as awareness of the significance of Limulus to shorebird ecological and human uses emerged, an initiative launched to bring this story, and the controversy regarding management surrounding it, into schools in the Delaware Estuary. The resulting “Green Eggs & Sand” project, featured the development of a comprehensive curriculum on horseshoe crabs for weekend teacher workshops up and down the Atlantic Coast. Over the seminal years of GE&S, Carl hit the road to be a presenter at 25 workshops in six states. His talks at these sessions were always well-articulated and thought-provoking, but it was on the beach with horseshoe crab in hand that Carl was especially adept at working his magic with educators. “My string of Dr. Shuster memories runs deep and wide,” Green Eggs & Sand co-founder, Gary Kreamer, said. “They span nearly two decades, and thousands of miles of I-95 travel to workshop


Photo: Courtesy of Glenn Gauvry

cont’d from p12

venues up and down the coast, with memorable Carl stories entertaining me along the way. Like all great teachers, he challenged me to be a better observer, look at things in new ways, ask good questions, and trust my brain, gut, and common sense to seek the best answers. In these and other ways, he has made me a better horseshoe crab educator. His influence is evident, and his teaching carries on through every presentation I make, school group I take to see the spawning spectacle, and workshop we do.” When Carl was 80, Harvard University asked him to write a book dedicated to the horseshoe crab. He recruited colleagues, Jane Brockmann, Ph.D., and Robert Barlow, Ph.D., as co-authors. The American Horseshoe Crab, the acknowledged scientific “bible” on Limulus polyphemus, was published in 2003. Carl N. Shuster is gone and will be immeasurably missed by many, but his influence and legacy live on in countless arenas. June 20 was the very first “International Day of the Horseshoe Crab”, dedicated to Carl. Over a dozen countries where this once little-known and lesser-loved animal celebrated the day. It’s hard to imagine any of this being possible were it not for the broad shoulders and strong foundation provided by Carl Shuster, and for that, we will ever be grateful. S

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Delaware River Festival Goes Virtual in 2020 | SEPT. 26 - OCT. 4 The Delaware River Festival returns this year with lots of fun in store. Instead of having one day of activities at Penn’s Landing and Wiggins Park, we’re offering a week of online fun and safe activities with social distancing in mind. From Sept. 26 until Oct. 4 we’ll have hikes, kayaking outings, and online family-friendly activities such as crafts, virtual behind-the-scenes tours, and more! As always, these activities will be free. Just go to the Delaware River Festival website and social media pages and take your pick from the schedule of events. Go to www.delawareriverfest.org, or go on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with #DelRivFest for information.

The Results Are In! PDE Receives Funds from the Target Circle Program Thank you so much for voting for us in the Target Circle Giving Program. Target recently awarded $1,000 to the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary toward furthering its mission of leading science-based and collaborative efforts to improve the tidal Delaware River and Bay. Regional Target shoppers cast 6,581 votes for PDE between April 1 and June 30. Continue checking PDE’s website and social media channels to learn more about its work. Again, to everyone who participated, spread the word, and shared the love, thank you!

Webinar: What Lies Beneath? Signature Species of the Delaware Estuary | NOON, TUESDAY, AUG. 25 What swims and crawls beneath the surface of the Delaware Estuary? What lies in the water below, both mystifying and inspiring us? Find out in PDE’s free webinar series, “What Lies Beneath? Signature Species of the Delaware Estuary.” PDE held two webinars in this series on July 28 and Aug. 11, which can now be viewed on youtube.com/user/DEESTUARY, but you can still register for the final installment, set for noon on Tuesday, Aug. 25. Parts 1 and 2 focused on freshwater mussels and oysters, respectively. Part 3 will feature horseshoe crabs. Whether you are an expert or a novice on this subject, our presenters have something in store for you. Visit www.delawareestuary.org for more information and to register. PDE thanks Ramboll for sponsoring this webinar series.


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The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary: Connecting people, science, and nature for a healthy Delaware River and Bay

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Inc. (PDE), is a private, nonprofit organization established in 1996. PDE is the host of the Delaware Estuary Program and leads science-based and collaborative efforts to improve the tidal Delaware River and Bay, which spans Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. To find out how you can become one of our partners, call PDE at (800) 445-4935 or visit our website at www.DelawareEstuary.org.

Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Inc. Kathy Klein Tel: (800) 445-4935 E-mail: kklein@DelawareEstuary.org

Environmental Protection Agency Irene Purdy, EPA Region II Tel: (212) 637-3794 E-mail: purdy.irene@epa.gov Megan Mackey, EPA Region III Tel: (215) 814-5534 E-mail: mackey.megan@epa.gov

New Jersey

Pennsylvania Rhonda Manning Department of Environmental Protection Tel: (717) 772-4472 Email: rmanning@pa.gov

Delaware Kimberly Cole Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Tel: (302) 739-9283 E-mail: kimberly.cole@delaware.gov

Jay Springer Department of Environmental Protection Tel: (609) 633-1441 E-mail: jay.springer@dep.state.nj.gov

Delaware River Basin Commission Chad Pindar Tel: (609) 883-9500 ext 268 E-mail: chad.pindar@drbc.gov

Philadelphia Water Department Kelly Anderson Tel: (215) 685-6245 Email: kelly.anderson@phila.gov

Editor Kate Layton Tel: (800) 445-4935 Email: klayton@DelawareEstuary.org

Estuary News encourages reprinting of its articles in other publications. Estuary News is produced four times annually by the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Inc. (PDE), under an assistance agreement (CE-993985-15-0) with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The purpose of this newsletter is to provide an open, informative dialogue on issues related to PDE. The viewpoints expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of PDE or EPA, nor does mention of names, commercial products or causes constitute endorsement or recommendation for use. For information about the PDE, call 1-800-445-4935.


Unless otherwise noted, all photos are property of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.


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