Private Lands Assistance

Delaware is a biologically diverse state with hardwood forests, swamps and coastal marshes that support over 400 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Despite significant strides in conservation, much of the wildlife habitat in Delaware remains isolated, degraded and unprotected as more land is converted to urban, commercial and industrial uses.

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Jason Davis
Certified Wildlife Biologist

Over 80 percent of the available and/or restorable wildlife habitat in Delaware occurs on private lands. The future of Delaware’s wildlife and habitat resources hinges on finding cooperative solutions with the state’s private landowners to restore and enhance wildlife habitat on their properties

Realizing this, DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife reorganized its staff to devote more energy to assisting private landowners improve and protect their lands for wildlife. The division has biologists dedicated to informing landowners about available programs, providing technical assistance in developing habitat projects and securing financial assistance as incentives for participation.

Private Lands Conservation

The Division of Fish and Wildlife offers free technical assistance to private landowners in Delaware for conservation planning on their property.

If you are interested in establishing, enhancing or maintaining wildlife habitat on your property for the benefit of species of greatest conservation need, a division biologist can provide you with information to help guide your wildlife habitat restoration project.

Phragmites Control Cost-Share Program

Property owners with undeveloped wetlands, such as tidal or nontidal freshwater or brackish marshes, ponds or impoundments that are being taken over by phragmites may be eligible for the Phragmites Control Cost-Share Program. The program provides technical and financial assistance to Delaware landowners who are interested in marsh restoration programs.

The Delaware Phragmites Control Cost-Share Program is offered by the Division of Fish and Wildlife to improve wildlife habitat in wetlands that have been degraded by the invasive phragmites. Research has shown that effective phragmites control is possible in many areas with consecutive late summer (August through mid-October) applications of glyphosate-based aquatic herbicides.

The division and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service have created a partnership using the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to provide technical and financial assistance to property owners. State and federal funds will cover 87.5 percent of the cost, with the landowner contributing the remaining 12.5 percent (about $10 per acre treated).

The division will be responsible for purchasing the herbicide, determining the herbicide application timing and rates, coordinating the aerial spraying and providing technical assistance.

Qualifying for Assistance

Qualified landowners must have a minimum of 5 acres of phragmites and a maximum of 200 acres to be spray treated with herbicide. They must agree to have the property treated for three years. Drainage ditches are not eligible. Assistance is on a first-come first-served basis with a mid-summer application deadline.

Applying for Assistance

The federal portion of the application can be obtained at the appropriate county USDA service center based on property location:

New Castle County
2430 Old County Rd

Kent County
800 Bay Rd, Suite 2

Sussex County
408 N Dupont Hwy