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Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
March 28, 1997     Cape Gazette
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March 28, 1997

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rV - " d  v.s " D State acquires thousands of acres in 1996 Quail hunters receive dismal news; mackerel showing up in strong numbers " Delaware has quietly set aside thousands of acres of land in the last year, buying property with a combination of funds that will en- sure that the land always remains pristine. Delaware's Fish and Game Ad- visory Council. heard a report on the efforts Tuesday. Environmen- tal Scientist Phil Carpenter said that the new land includes 24 acres in the Nanticoke Wildlife Area bordering the riverfront and greatly increases the Assawoman Wildlife Area. All together, approximately 3,850 acres were bought for $7,838,672 during 1996. Many of the areas are in lower Delaware, including additions to the Nanti- coke Wildlife Area, the As- sawoman Wildlife Area and Ab- bott's Mill Carpenter said "the money was available" and people seemed willing to sell last year. There were 150 acres added to the Mil- ford Neck Wildlife Area, but the biggest winner in Sussex might be the lands added to the Assawoman area. The lands included some 6,000 feet of riverfront along Miller Creek and were being eyed for development. Carpenter said that the state decision to buy a portion of the land actually dis- couraged the proposed develop- ment of three tracts in the area. 'Whey came to us and said since you messed up the sale, how about buying the rest of the land," he said. The result was the 81 acre Banks property, the 93 acre Mc- Cabe property, 106 acres bought from the Nature Conservancy which had been holding it private- ly to preserve it and the 219 acre Tubbs Property. "It is gorgeous," be said. Coastal Sussex residents will al- so be interested in a 267 acre par- cel on Indian River, near where the Indian River forks, called the Piney Point property. The most expensive of the As- sawoman area parcels of land was the 219 acre Tubbs tract, costing $1,006,764. All were bought with Governor's Council on Open Space monies. The lands were bought with a rare combination of funds that didn't cost the taxpayers one nick- el and Carpenter says the lands are only bought when people want to sell. There are no strong-arm tech- niques - only a carrot offered to landowners in areas like the Nan- ticoke River watershed. The funding comes from several sources: the Governor's Council for Open Space, a settlement against PSE&G which can be used for upland buffers to Delaware Bay wetlands, 21st Cen- tury Funding (won in a court case from New York) and in some cas- es, Wallops-Breaux funding, which comes from excise taxes. Mike Short Mighty macs marauding The mackerel are here. The word is that there were coolers filled with mackerel taken on Sun- day and Monday. 'Whey filled up everything they had," said Dale Parsons of Fisherman's Wharf. The fishing sounded like the good old days when the mackerel run was fast and furious and fish- ermen could catch a half dozen fat mackerel almost as soon as their ii i TIDES Datel , I 3/301 Indian giver Inlet Rehoboth Beach Roosevelt Inlet 4/11 4/31 00000100 line struck the water. Fisherman's Wharf and other local headboats are beginning their trips but the mackerel season never lasts long. The harbinger of fishing season, the mackerel tend to stay only until the water warms or bluefish begin nipping at their tails and they are driven north- ward. Park planning April 14 Mark this date on your calendar because it is a red letter day for nature lovers. The next public meeting to help develop a master plan for Cape Henlopen State Park will be on Monday, April 14 at 6:30 p.m. The meting will take place at the officer's club and was scheduled by Delaware's Division of Parks and Recreation. Bad news for bobwhites Delaware has much game news that is good. But the bobwhite quail numbers continue to decline and one huge culprit was probably the winter of 1995. Dr. Bill Whit- man of the Division of Fish and Wildlife gave an update on bob- white populations this week at the Advisory Council on Game and Fish meeting. Whitman told the audience at the Department of Natural Re- sources and Environmental Con- trol auditorium in Dover that quail populations continue to decline and that Sussex County may have been hit hardest by the 1995-96 winter. "I feel we're between a rock and a hard place," he told the audience on March 25. Boating safety course at Huling Cove April 14 There will be a Public Safe Boating Course offered on four successive Monday nights begin- ning April 14 at the Huling Cove CHEER Center. The course meets Delaware and other states boating education requirements. It is mandatory for anyone bern after Jan. 1, 1978 to complete an approved boating course before operating a water craft in Delaware. The course is free. Books and materials are provided by the Office of Boating Safety i i i i i [ : i ! i i ...... h ...... i '! ......... i .... I ........ [ ........ i i i i i J I I i i i : i i r-i ........ i .... I i .... ! ........ I ..... i ...... i i  i i i i I i I I i i ' -d I i t i i i i ! i 7" r-- i i i ....... I ......... I ...... : ........ i 1 ...... ....... i i i i i  i :"--k i i i i !  i -,  1 I i ! ! i ; i i i 1  I I i i i t i i i i I i I t  '8 80 82 84 86 88 90 92 94 96 98 Year r 140 ,! I oo  o 0 l--- Quail Harvestec O This chart shows recent declines in Delaware's bobwhite landowners should pay attention to it. We've written about the bill previously, but it bears repeating. Various programs pay farmers money to leave their land fallow. In some cases, farmers can make just as much money from margin- al land under the program. The programs may also pay for much of the cost of developing the land for wildlife. For information on the various programs in the 1996 Farm Bill, what the benefits are and how to qualify for the programs, here is a list of phone numbers. More in- formation on the Farm Bill can be provided by the administrating agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service at 302-697- 6176 in Kent County and 302- 856-7215 in Georgetown. Advice on maximizing wildlife benefits and deterring deer dam- age is available from the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 89 Kings Highway, Box 1401, Dover, DE or by calling 739-5297. Whitman said that the popula- tion should rebound this season to what the habitat can support. But the amount of habitat remains vi- tal. To borrow a quote from the great conservationist Aldo Leopold, "It is the American farmer who must weave the greater part of the rug on which America stands." quail population He said snow stresses the quail population and last winter's snow was devastating. Snow cover for a few days is bad, but last year's winter killed most of the adult breeding birds in Delaware, he said. Whitman gave results of sur- veys to give indications of the population. Delaware's quail pop- ulation has never been great and the surveys aren't complete. But they paint a rather disappointing picture. The surveys thus far measure hunter effort with a wing count. Participating hunters tell how many birds they shot, which gives a birds taken per hour ratio. The Sussex figure fell from 1995's .6 birds per hour to only one third that figure in 1996. The ratio of male to female birds is also not as good as it once was and another survey of male birds showed a 41 percent decline from 785 birds to 464 birds. That count, measured in the same areas both years, counts whistling male birds during the morning. The picture isn't totally bleak, however, because Whitman thinks new legislation to pay landowners to leave their land untilled and to use land as wildlife habitat have great potential to create new wildlife habitat. Those programs are based on the new farm bill and Sussex Education. For mo information, call 684- 2666 or 645-9239. David Barlow and Eric Beaman. Beaman recorded his 90th career win during the meet. Team Delaware defeats S. Jersey in wrestling The Delaware/South Jersey Wrestling Classic was held Tues- day, March 18 at Panlsboro Hiogh School in New Jersey. The Delaware All-Star wrestling team, comprised of outstanding seniors, managed to defeat the All-Star South Jersey team by a 38-27 score. This was only the third time in the 13 years of the classic that Team Delaware beat South Jersey. The last time Delaware scored a victory was in 1992. Local partic- ipants included Cape wrestlers Free book offers tips on buying, selling boats The BOATKI.S. Consumer Pro- tection Bureau is offering a free 30 page booklet, the BOAT/U.S. Guide to Buying and Selling A Boat for those considering a boat purchase this year. The guide offers pointers on pricing, contract-writing, loans and insurance. For a free copy, write to Consumer Affairs, BOAT/U.S., 880 S. Pickett Street, Alexandria, VA 22304, or request a copy at the BOAT/U.S. website (http.'//