The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays announced completion of a project to improve water quality in Love Creek by restricting cattle access to one of its headwater streams.
The project is located on the Hopkins Farm, the largest dairy farm in Delaware and site of the popular dairy-made ice cream store on Route. 9, just west of Lewes.
The project focused on an area along the stream that is used to keep heifers, cows too young to join the regular milk-producing herd. To protect the stream banks and keep the cows and their manure out of the water, fencing and gates were installed. In addition, three stone crossings were constructed so the cattle can access shade and grazing areas, and be moved to the loading corral and watering areas without damaging stream banks or entering the water.
In all, 850 feet of fencing was placed at least 35 feet from each side of the stream, creating a buffer that protects more than two acres along the stream and will reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients running off the land and into the water. With the exception of the three stone crossings, which were installed by the Sussex Conservation District, all work was completed by the landowner.
Project Manager Eric Buehl, Land Conservation and Restoration coordinator for the CIB, said, “We are really proud to have completed this project with the Hopkins Farm. Agriculture is an important part of the Inland Bays watershed, so we want to recognize them for all the work they did. The next time you stop by to get ice cream, be sure to thank them for helping improve water quality in the Inland Bays.”
It is estimated that these enhancements will prevent 314 pounds of nitrogen and 15 pounds of phosphorus from entering Love Creek and Rehoboth Bay each year. The nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus are the principal source of pollution in the Inland Bays.
Funding for the project was provided by the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Nonpoint Source Pollution Program, and Ducks Unlimited. Design and technical expertise was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a nonprofit organization established in 1994 to promote the wise use and enhancement of the Inland Bays watershed through habitat protection and restoration, science and research, education and outreach, and public policy. For more information, call Sally Boswell at 302-226-8105, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.inlandbays.org.