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Current and ongoing projects

Annual Christina River Watershed Cleanup

Help clean the single most important natural resource in our region – the waterways. The Christina River Watershed provides 75% of the public water supply for residents and businesses in New Castle County. A solid effort is needed annually to improve wildlife habitat and keep each of these waterways as free from debris as possible.

Since the Cleanup began in 1992, more than 330 tons of tires, appliances, household items, and uncountable pieces of plastic and styrofoam have been cleared from the Christina River, White Clay Creek, Red Clay Creek, and various other tributaries.  Upwards of 12,000 volunteers have found filling trash bags in Churchmans Marsh, White Clay Creek State Park, the City of Wilmington, City of Newark and various other locations to be extremely rewarding.

The 2015 Cleanup will be on Saturday, April 18 from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. Hope to see you there!

Christina Basin Education Group

In 2014, the Conservancy joined the Christina Basin Education Group, which is an outgrowth of the Christina Basin Task Force-identified need to have public education and outreach efforts better coordinated among partners; e.g., have a unified message regarding water quality in the basin and pool resources.  The intent is not to try to replicate or replace what others are doing but to be as effective and efficient as possible with our education and outreach efforts throughout the Basin.  There are many pieces of education ongoing in the watershed conducted by many organizations; the objective is to coordinate/join together these groups for a stronger message.

Christina Conservancy Website

The Website began in 2012 and is an active tool to inform Conservancy members and the general public about topics vital to promote the preservation, restoration, and conservation of the historic and natural resources of the Christina River.

Christina Flood Control

Details forthcoming.

 Cooch-Dayett Mills

On behalf of Christina Conservancy and in partnership with the State Division of Historic and Cultural Affairs, Ned Cooch (and Cam Yorkston) raised funds from Foundations during 2007-8 to stabilize the mill. This included the roof, wood window sills and trim, pointing up the brick to make the mill usable but not working (2009-2011).

The balance of the project was to remove the turbine so it could be shown how it worked.  When it was realized that removing it would destabilize the foundation walls of that mill section, it is now agreed to repair the grate and gate at the opening to the penstock, replace the penstock and get some water flowing through around the turbine to the tail race. In the meantime, a working model of the mill has been built and installed inside the mill for educational purposes. Assuming all goes well, the work should be complete by spring 2015.

Edward W. Cooch, Jr. Environmental Scholarship

The “Edward W. Cooch, Jr. Environmental Scholarship” has been established to honor the late Edward W. Cooch, Jr. (1920-2010). “Ned” as many of us knew him, was an avid environmentalist with a deep passion for the natural lands and water resources of the State of Delaware. In 1982 Ned was one of the founders of the Christina Conservancy which promotes the preservation and restoration of the natural and historic resources of the Christina River Watershed. Ned was one of the driving forces and an inspiration for the Christina River Watershed Cleanup, which was started in 1992, and has removed hundreds of tons of trash from the watershed. Ned was an active member of the Delaware community and demonstrated a deep commitment to the natural environment.

Development of historical markers

The Conservancy is working with the State Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs to develop and place metal explanatory signs along roadways marking the trail of American and British troop movements as described in The British Invasion of Delaware, Aug-Sep 1777 by Gerald J. Kauffman and Michael R. Gallagher.  The Christina River played an active part during the invasion as did the Cooch homestead and the battlefield.

Natural Areas Bioblitzs

A Bioblitz is a fun walk led by a professional naturalist to identify any or all of the mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects, wildflowers, trees, shrubs in a specific publicly-owned section of the Christina River Natural Area.  Christina River Natural Area is comprised of lands in the Christina Corridor having exceptional natural and ecological values that are recognized by listing on Delaware’s Natural Areas Inventory maintained by DNREC.  Beginning in 2013, Bioblitz information obtained is stored permanently as part of a biological baseline.  Bioblitzes to date:

June 7, 2014 – Whitewood Village, New Castle County Parkland

June 8, 2013 – Treking Through the Magnus Woods

June 2, 2012 – Birding in Lewden Green Park

Out With Invasives

Invasive plants are a scourge to wildlife and water quality in riparian areas.  The Christina Conservancy has identified areas along the river that need invasive plant removal and will seek volunteers to assist the Conservancy and its partners (the Christina River Cleanup Committee, the Delaware Nature Society, State Division of Fish & Wildlife, and the Delaware Invasive Species Council). During the Out With Invasives events, participants will focus on cutting or removing some non-native, rapidly spreading pest plants like Asian bittersweet, Japanese honeysuckle, and bush honeysuckles and when possible plant some native species in the area.  Initially, the focus has been on the Peterson Marsh along the river, but other areas will be addressed in the future.

Participants will be provided with gloves, some hand tools, trash bags and water.  Participants should bring hand clippers, branch loppers, their favorite garden gloves, small hand saws (if available), and hand trowels for planting.  Waterproof boots or “mud” sneakers are a must.

Out With Invasives 1 – Peterson Marsh – October 20, 2012

Out With Invasives 2 – Peterson Marsh – October 26, 2013

Out With Invasives 3 event at Peterson Marsh will be October 25, 2014.

Watershed Access Map

The headwaters of the Christina River watershed lie within the state of Maryland and enter Delaware west of Newark. The Christina River is tidal from just south of the town of Christiana to its confluence with the Delaware River at Wilmington. The Red and White Clay creeks converge in the vicinity of Stanton, Delaware, and the combined flow empties into the tidal Christina near Churchmans Marsh. Extensive tidal freshwater wetlands, including Churchmans Marsh, exist along the lower Christina. The Brandywine Creek flows through Wilmington and enters the Christina River just before the Christina flows into the Delaware River. The majority of the Christina River watershed is located in New Castle County (DE). Lower portions of the Christina River are under tidal influence.  The Christina River watershed is highly developed with 59% of the landuse classified as urban.

The Christina River Watershed is part of the larger Christina River Basin, which is a 565 sq. mi. watershed comprised of the Brandywine, Red Clay, and White Clay Creeks, and the Christina River watersheds.

If you are interested in volunteering for any of the above On-going Projects, please contact the Conservancy:  christinaconservancy@gmail.com.

Completed projects

In the past, Christina Conservancy raised matching funds for the New Castle Conservation District to remove sunken vessels that were navigational hazards; and with New Castle County to remove log jams.

It has conducted surveys of point and non-point pollution sources that were shared with DNREC to spur remedial action. Christina Conservancy successfully lobbied the City of Newark to replace above ground sewer lines that cross over Persimmon Creek; the sewer lines, which were without supports were in danger of breaking and spilling sewage into the river.