Topic: Wetlands

A tidal wetland

A wetland is simply an area of land that is wet during the growing season. All true wetlands have three characteristics: typical wetland plants, wetland soils, and evidence that water is or can be at or near the surface.

Our wetlands provide valuable service to Delaware. Wetlands purify our water. They provide habitat for rare and commercially important plants, fish and animals. And they protect us from flooding.

There are many different kinds of wetlands in Delaware, from coastal salt marshes, to our unique Bald Cypress swamps, to seasonal forested ponds.

Though nearly half of Delaware’s original wetlands have been lost, wetlands make up nearly 25 percent of land in Delaware. The vast majority of our wetlands are privately owned. Only 20 percent are owned by the state or federal governments. Protecting our remaining wetlands is a joint effort among government agencies, private land-owners and the public at large.

Wetland Regulations and Permitting

The Division of Water Wetlands and Waterways Section handles regulation and permitting for activities in wetlands and subaqueous lands.

Wetland Health Assessments and Studies

The Division of Watershed Stewardship Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program studies and reports on the health of Delaware’s wetlands.

Featured Links

Delaware Open Data Logo

Find data on the condition of tidal wetlands and of non-tidal wetlands in the Open Data Portal.

More DNREC Open Data

Learn About Wetlands

Because we all share in the responsibility for managing and protecting the wetlands that do so much for us, it is important to know as much as we can about these important lands. To that end, DNREC holds a biennial wetlands conference. The conference offers two days of exploration into the latest wetland research, innovations to outreach and education and conservation programs in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Use the Delaware Wetland Plant Field Guide to help identify what types of wetlands, and wetland plants, you are looking at

Watch the multi-part DNREC YouTube series Wetlands 101

Follow the Delaware Wetlands Blog

See what’s happening at the reserves

Download the Discovering Wetlands guide and the Delaware Wetlands Fact Sheet

Read about how wetlands purify water, provide habitat, and protect us from flooding

Learn about the status of Delaware wetlands and trends in wetland health

Visit a wetland by taking advantage of the Eco Explorers program or other wetlands field trip opportunities

Or go out and visit a wetland on your own

Protect and Restore Wetlands

There’s much you can do to help protect wetlands, both on your property and around the rest of the state.

More opportunities:

Study the Delaware Wetland Health Reports, which examine the health of wetland areas in each Delaware watershed

Read the 2015 Delaware Wetland Management Plan

Visit the Delaware Aquatic Resources Education Center

Get involved in local land use decisions to help protect wetlands using the wetlands Guidebook for Public Participation

Join your local Tributary Action Team

Help out at the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR)

Sign up for the Delaware Wetlands Newsletter

Manage Wetlands You Own

Property owners of lands that include wetlands can be among the most important stewards of Delaware wetland resources. DNREC offers a variety of assistance and guidance — and regulations — to help landowners care for, restore and manage their wetlands. First, are you the proud owner of wetlands? You can use the index of maps of state-regulated wetlands to find out.

Resources for landowners:

Learn about freshwater wetlands and view wetland maps with the Delaware Freshwater Wetland Toolbox

Use the Discovering Wetlands guide to identify and learn about wetlands you may have in your back yard

Read the landowners guide to wetland restoration in Delaware to find inspiration in restoration stories (Part 1) and to find resources for restoration (Part 2)

Take advantage of the Delaware Landowner Incentive Program to find funding and assistance

Learn how to stabilize shorelines by creating living shorelines rather than bulkheads

See how wetland and channel restoration can work on your lands

Use the assistance of the Delaware Phragmites Control Cost-Share Program to restore wetlands that have been taken over by invasive phragmites

Find out which laws and regulations might apply

Related News

Learn More

Important Phone Numbers

For wetland health assessments and public engagements, contact the Watershed Assessment and Management Program: 302-739-9939

For information about wetlands permits and wetland delineation, contact the Wetlands and Waterways Section: 302-739-9943

For education and research about wetlands as part of estuarine systems, contact the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve: 302-739-6377

For fish and wildlife-related wetland education, contact the Delaware Aquatic Resources Education Center: 302-735-8652

Public Meetings

Meetings of the Division of Watershed Stewardship

Meetings of the Division of Water

Meetings of the Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy


Marina Regulations (DE Admin. Code 7501)

Wetlands Regulations (DE Admin. Code 7502)

Regulations Governing the Use of Subaqueous Lands (DE Admin. Code 7504)

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