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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 400 tons of manmade debris have been cleared from the Christina River, White Clay Creek, Red Clay Creek, and various other tributaries.  Each spring 700-800 volunteers have found filling trash bags in Churchmans Marsh, White Clay Creek State Park, the City of Wilmington, City of Newark and other locations to be extremely rewarding. For more information about this April’s cleanup visit www.ChristinaRiverCleanup.org

Christina Brandywine River Remediation, Restoration and Resilience (CBR4)

In 2017 the Christina Conservancy embarked on an effort, working with DNREC and other partners to plan for the remediation, restoration and resilience of the lower Christina and Brandywine Rivers in Wilmington. The goal is to make these urban waters fishable and swimmable again by addressing in-stream contamination and restoring habitat and water quality. In 2018, mapping the bottom of this stretch of the rivers to characterize its topography and sediments (soils) was completed to help target future cleanup of contaminants like PCBs. In 2019, the Conservancy partnered with Brightfields, DNREC, and Anquor QEA to host a workshop sharing the results of this mapping and other work to clean up and restore the lower Christina and Brandywine rivers. Today, a team of experts is working together to seek funding and develop the strategies and projects needed to bring these urban rivers fully back to life for people, fish and wildlife. Learn more about CBR4 using the link above and click here for more information on chemical contaminants in the Christina River.

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, efforts were refocused on repairing the grate and gate at the opening to the penstock and replacing the penstock and get some water flowing through around the turbine to the tail race instead. In the meantime, a working model of the mill has been built and installed inside the mill for educational purposes.

Edward W. Cooch, Jr. Environmental Scholarship

The “Edward W. Cooch, Jr. Environmental Scholarship” was 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 and a driving force and inspiration for starting the Christina River Watershed Cleanup in 1992, which 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.

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

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 publicly-owned property, often in a section of the Christina River Natural Area.  These natural areas have exceptional natural and ecological values that are recognized by listing on Delaware’s Natural Areas Inventory maintained by DNREC.  Bioblitz information is often stored permanently as part of a biological baseline. The Conservancy has held a Bioblitz in June almost every year since 2012.

Out With Invasives

Invasive plants are a scourge to wildlife and water quality in riparian areas.  The Christina Conservancy has periodically identified areas along the river heavily impacted by invasive plants and engaged volunteers to assist the Conservancy and its partners in removing them. During these “Out With Invasives” events, participants focus on cutting or removing non-native, rapidly spreading pest plants like Asian bittersweet, Japanese honeysuckle, and bush honeysuckles and when possible planting native species in the area. Participants are provided with basic supplies like gloves, hand tools, trash bags and water and may be asked to bring others, like hand clippers or trowels for planting, and waterproof boots or “mud” sneakers are a must. So far, the focus of these events has been on the Peterson Marsh on the riverfront in Wilmington, but other areas may be addressed in the future.

Watershed Access Map

The majority of the Christina River watershed is located in New Castle County (DE). The Christina Conservancy worked with New Castle County to develop an online map showing parkland and open space in the watershed, and a printed/printable Christina River Riparian Corridor guide showing public access areas and points along the river. 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:  christinaconservancyinc@gmail.com.

Past projects

In the past, the Christina Conservancy has also:

  • 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.
  • Conducted surveys of point and nonpoint pollution sources that were shared with DNREC to spur remedial action.
  • 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.
  • Participated in the Christina Basin Education Group, to better coordinated and pool resources for public education and outreach efforts among partners for a stronger, more unified message regarding water quality in the basin.