Become a citizen activist and learn about Delaware’s legislative process at Delaware Nature Society’s Citizen Action Day at Legislative Hall in Dover.
Citizen Action Day is free, and transportation will be provided to registered participants from Ashland Nature Center in Hockessin and from Abbott’s Mill Nature Center in Milford at 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 8.
Participants will begin the day at the Dover Public Library and review Delaware’s legislative process, community restoration, volunteer opportunities and pressing environmental issues. Dee Ross of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary will give a presentation on fun and interesting things people can do, such as freshwater mussel monitoring and river cleanups.
“Understanding the importance of the natural world is the first step,” said Dee Ross, watershed coordinator at the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary. “Taking action to improve our local environment is the next. Delaware has many wonderful organizations that offer opportunities for people to learn about environmental challenges as well as volunteer events where they can make a difference in the streams, on the land, and throughout their own communities.”
In the afternoon, Citizen Action Day participants will have an opportunity to meet with legislators or their staff to discuss environmental concerns.
The most urgent and timely issue is healthy water for all Delawareans, said Delaware Nature Society Environmental Advocate Brenna Goggin, who is the leader of Citizen Action Day and the I Choose Clean Water campaign.
Most of Delaware’s waters do not meet water-quality standards for drinking, swimming, and supporting fish and other aquatic wildlife. Problems span from water containing excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, to low dissolved oxygen, to toxics and bacteria.
The state’s public health division recorded 28 drinking water violations last year that were mostly attributed to nitrates or bacteria. Advisories now caution against eating fish because of the high levels of chemical contaminants that are unsafe for consumption.
Earlier this month, Gov. Jack Markell and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara proposed Clean Water for Delaware’s Future, a plan for protecting public health and cleaning up Delaware’s bays, rivers, and streams within a generation, while creating jobs and strengthening Delaware’s economy.
Goggin said, “It is unacceptable that 94 percent of Delaware’s rivers do not support aquatic life and wildlife, and 86 percent of Delaware’s rivers are not safe for swimming. Every Delawarean can take action and do something by voicing our concerns and supporting Clean Water for Delaware’s Future.”
This year’s Citizen Action Day was made possible by the National Wildlife Federation.
Founded in 1964, Delaware Nature Society works to improve the environment through conservation, advocacy, and education. To register for Citizen Action Day, go to www.delawarenaturesociety.org or call 302-239-2334.