Gov. John Carney called a Sept. 18 press conference along Route 9 near Lewes a “two-fer.”
Not only did officials gather to unveil a new Entering Delaware River Watershed sign, they also showed off one of the new Keep DE Litter Free signs.
Carney was joined by watershed coalition members, Delaware Department of Transportation staff and Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, Sept. 18 near Five Points in Lewes to unveil the signs.
Kelly Knutson, state policy manager for the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, said the signs are reminders to tourists and residents that they are in the watershed. “They help promote care and stewardship for the watershed,” he said.
Knutson said Delaware's signs are the second series placed along key roadways. New York already has signs in place. In Sussex County, two additional signs will be placed in high-traffic areas on Route 113 near Georgetown and Milford.
The watershed contains more than 13,500 square miles. The Delaware River flows 330 miles from the Catskill Mountains in New York to the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean.
The watershed includes 50 percent of Delaware, 5 percent of New York, 14 percent of Pennsylvania and 40 percent of New Jersey. In Delaware, the watershed includes land stretching from New Castle County south along the eastern corridor from Dover to Milford, ending in Lewes.
DE Litter Free campaign
Carney also used the press conference to highlight his DE Litter Free campaign. Carney said several litter-free signs will be placed at Sussex County hotspots. “In some areas it's more like trash dumps than litter. It's important to take pride in your community,” he said.
DelDOT Deputy Secretary Nicole Majeski, who will replace retiring Secretary Jennifer Cohan, said so far this year, DelDOT crews have collected 36,000 bags of trash throughout the state. Crews collected 50,000 bags last year.
“We are doing this under unprecedented circumstances,” Carney said. “The last six months have tested all of us.”
Carney launched the statewide anti-litter campaign in April 2019 in Rehoboth Beach in partnership with Keep Delaware Beautiful and Delaware Anti-Litter Alliance. A 2018 survey showed there were 6,000 pieces of litter for every mile of road surveyed in the state. The worst offenders include cigarette butts, plastic bags, aluminum cans and bottles.
Carney had earlier visited classrooms in the Woodbridge School District.
Delaware River Watershed
• Home to 8.3 million people, including parts of New York City and Philadelphia, and 42 counties and 838 municipalities
• More than 2,000 tributaries, including Schuylkill and Lehigh rivers in Pennsylvania
• 6.6 billion gallons of water are withdrawn daily from the basin. The three largest water users are electric-generating plants, public water supplies and industry
• Supplies drinking water to 13.3 million people; more than 725,000 in Delaware
• Supports $25 billion in economic activity including recreation, ecotourism, ports, hunting and fishing
• Habitat for more than 90 resident and migrating fish species, and more than 400 bird species
• More than 400 miles of wild and scenic rivers, and six national wildlife refuges.