Facts and information on Delaware land, air, water, wildlife, forests, geology, and waste management.

Get Involved

Hands holding letters saying get ivolved.

Adopt-A-Beach Program

DNREC's Adopt-A-Beach program is a partnership between Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and volunteers, working in tandem to protect and enhance Delaware's beaches.

Delaware Coastal Cleanup

The annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup offers volunteers an opportunity to help make a difference for Delaware’s shoreline and waterways while joining an international effort to clean up the world’s waters.

DNREC Environmental Release Notification System

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) developed the notification system to promptly alert Delawareans to releases or discharges of contaminants or pollutants that meet or exceed certain thresholds in their neighborhoods or throughout the state. Anyone can register to be notified of releases in the State.

DNREC Public Meetings

DNREC posts notices of all public meetings on the state’s Public Meeting Calendar, on division- and office-specific calendars, and on the DNREC calendar of events, which includes training, volunteer opportunities, and more.

Do Something Wild

Volunteer with the Division of Fish and Wildlife! The Division offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups, part of a larger, Department-wide network of volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer with DNREC

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for both individuals and groups.

General Information

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Climate Change

In Delaware, scientists, state agencies and local partners are working together to understand how climate change is affecting our state.

Oceans & Coasts

The Coastal Programs Section of the Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy helps manage Delaware’s federal coastal zone and balance the use and protection of its resource.

DuPont Nature Center Events

The DuPont Nature Center offers educational programs and events from April through September. They include field excursions, lectures and hands-on activities.

Education & Outreach

The Division of Fish and Wildlife offers a variety of educational and outreach programs.

Environmental Crimes Unit

The Environmental Crimes Unit investigates environmental crimes and enforces a wide variety of environmental laws and regulations for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).

Environmental E-mail Alerts (DERNS)

DERNS alerts the public of the release or discharge of contaminants or pollutants locally or statewide when thresholds are exceeded.

Environmental Databases and GIS

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control offers a number of online applications and tools to make it easier to interact with the agency.

Environmental Loans and Grants

The Environmental Finance Office provides planning, engineering and financial assistance in the form of low-interest loans and grants to eligible applicants that request assistance to promote water quality projects which protect natural resources and reduce the risk of pollution from septic tanks, underground storage tanks and other activities.

Green Economy & Green Living

This guide provides the resources, both print and online, to green your life, your home, your car.


One set of tools the Department uses to meet those goals is a collection of regulations and permits focused on the wise management, conservation, and enhancement of the State’s natural resources.

Sign Up for E-mail Notices

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) provides e-mail list subscriptions on a variety of subjects.

Air Quality

Blue sky and clouds with tree

Clean Air

Humans, plants, and animals all need clean air to survive. A variety of human activities can add pollutants to the air and harm our health. DNREC has several programs to help ensure Delaware’s air meets State and Federal Air Quality Standards. These standards protect public health and the environment.

Open Burning

Most open burning is prohibited in Delaware from May 1 through September 30, typically referred to as “Ozone Season.” Exemptions include camping, cooking, and ceremonial fires. Delaware’s Open Burning Regulations prohibit certain types of burning at all times, and provide guidance for authorized burning under specific conditions.

Ozone Pollution and Monitoring

The Division of Air Quality operates a series of monitoring stations throughout the State and deploys a Movable Monitoring Platform for deployment in selected areas. This monitoring network measures pollutants for which national air quality standards have been defined to protect public health. These are known as “Criteria Air Pollutants".

Pollen and Mold Count

Get air quality data where you live.

Pollution Prevention Program

Delaware's Pollution Prevention (P2) Program was established within DNREC by the General Assembly in 1990 as a non-regulatory program to provide assistance to businesses and industrial facilities in identifying and implementing waste reduction opportunities

Real-Time Air Monitoring Network

Current Air Quality data from monitoring stations throughout the state.

Drinking Water Quality

Child drinking glass of water with her thumb pointing up

If you are one of the 82 percent of Delawareans who get their water from a community water system like a water company, city or town system or shared well (not your own private well), your drinking water is tested regularly and extensively in a manner regulated by the Office of Drinking Water in the state Division of Public Health.

You can also found much more detailed analysis of public water systems on the Delaware Drinking Water Watch. This shows detailed test results and is updated as many tests occur. The information provided here is very technical, but there is a glossary to assist with many of the terms.

When testing finds contaminants in a public water system, water users are notified immediately, and told whether any precautions are necessary. Violation reports for the 213 community water systems that provide drinking water to homes, as well as for the hundreds of places like restaurants, convenience stores and other locations that serve water from wells to the public, are released immediately.

If you get your water from a private well, the Office of Drinking Water recommends that you test your water annually. A simple water test is available from the state for $4 (more details), or more comprehensive tests are available from private companies.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, in 2015, expect to propose a regulation requiring that private wells for potable use be tested when the well is first dug and when a home with a private well is sold to a new owner. This regulation will be open for public comment.

Delaware Drinking Water Watch

Detailed and regularly updated testing and quality information about Delaware's public water sources — cities and towns, water companies, community systems and also restaurants, schools, convenience stores and other locations that have private wells but make water available to the public. This information is technical, but with a glossary to help explain some of the terms. For a user-friendly annual summary of water quality for the major public water systems, see the Annual Water Quality Reports above.

Water Quality Violation Notices

When testing finds contaminants or other violations of water quality in public water systems, those violations are reported immediately to owners along with any recommended actions, and the notices are also made public.

Statewide Drinking Water Quality Report

In addition to the individual public water system reports mentioned above, Delaware makes an annual report to the federal Environmental Protection Agency showing all drinking water violations and contaminants found. View these annual reports back to 1999 as well as link to the state regulations that govern public water systems.

Private Well Owners' Quality Resources

If you use a private well for your drinking water, making sure that the water is safe is your responsibility. Both the US EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend annual sampling to ensure optimal water quality. Wells should also be inspected once a year to make sure there are no mechanical problems. In addition to annual testing you should consider more frequent testing if:

  • Someone in the house is pregnant or nursing
  • The water is being used to prepare formula for an infant
  • Your neighbors find a dangerous contaminant in their water
  • You note a change in water taste, odor, color or clarity
  • When you replace or repair any part of your well or plumbing system

Well Permitting Information

If you have or are applying for a private well to provide your drinking water, this site will provide information to questions like:

  • "How do I get a well permit?"
  • "When will my well permit be ready?
  • "Can I get a copy of my existing well permit?"
  • "What is the current permit fee for a well?"

EPA Current Drinking Water Regulated Contaminant (MCL) List

Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. EPA sets standards for approximately 90 contaminants in drinking water.

EPA Consumer Confidence Report FAQ

This FAQ answers questions about the The Consumer Confidence Report, or CCR, which is an annual water quality report that a community water system is required to provide to its customers. The CCR helps people make informed choices about the water they drink. They let people know the source of their water, the presence of contaminants, if any, in their drinking water, and how these contaminants may affect their health. CCRs also give the water system an opportunity to communicate the value of water and water delivery services.

Delaware's Source Water Assessment and Protection Program (SWAPP)

The Source Water Assessment and Protection Program (SWAPP) was created by Congress as part of the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996. The goal of the SWAPP is to better protect public drinking water resources by providing local and state governments, and the public more information about those resources. The susceptibility of each source of public drinking water to various types of contamination will be determined and published. Congress has provided funding though the U.S. EPA to the states to support their efforts in conducting these assessments.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has the lead role in the development and implementation of the Delaware SWAPP. The Delaware Division of Public Health and the Water Resources Agency, Institute for Public Administration at the University of Delaware, closely supports its work. A SWAPP Citizen and Technical Advisory Committee (CTAC) was formed at the start of this program in 1998 and continuing to assist in developing and implementing Delaware's SWAPP and ensures public involvement.

Water Supply Coordinating Council

Legislation established a Water Supply Coordinating Council with statewide representation, chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). The Council has achieved its goal of water supply self-sufficiency in northern New Castle County by 2010, as directed by law, and has completed the water supply plan for southern New Castle County. The Council is scheduled to conclude its work by Jan. 1, 2016.

Fish and Wildlife

Egret standing in water at Bombay Hook

Advisory Council on Tidal Finfisheries

The Advisory Council on Tidal Finfisheries was created in 1984 to advise the Division of Fish and Wildlife and represent both the commercial and recreational interests in the state’s regulation of finfish.

Advisory Council on Wildlife and Freshwater Fish

The Advisory Council on Wildlife and Freshwater Fish was created in 1953 as the Council on Game and Fish. It serves in an advisory capacity to the Director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) is an educational program offering hands-on workshops to encourage and enhance participation in outdoor activities like hunting and shooting sports, fishing and boating, and non-harvest activities.

Citizen Osprey Monitoring

In order to keep tabs on the osprey populations, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife needs assistance from dedicated volunteers. The Citizen Osprey Monitoring Program provides volunteers with the opportunity to continue to collect important information by monitoring osprey platforms and nests near their home or workplace.

Conservation Access Pass

Delaware’s Conservation Access Pass provides needed funding to help the Division of Fish and Wildlife maintain and improve public access, facilities, and wildlife habitat on State Wildlife Areas.

Council on Recreational Fishing Funding

The Council on Recreational Fishing Funding serves in an advisory capacity to the Director of Fish and Wildlife. It considers matters relating to funding fishery-related projects as well as fishery-related construction priorities for the expenditure of funds generated from the sale of recreational fishing licenses.

Delaware Bat Program

Discover the bats of Delaware; the species we have, how to attract or safely evict them, get information about White-Nose Syndrome, find out what the state is doing for bats, and how you can help.

Delaware Bayshore Initiative

Extending from Pea Patch Island in New Castle County to the City of Lewes in Sussex County, the Delaware Bay shoreline is widely recognized as an area of global ecological significance.

Delaware Wildlife Action Plan

The Division of Fish and Wildlife has created a Delaware Wildlife Action Plan to coordinate wildlife conservation practices in the 21st century.

Native Species Commission

The Division of Fish and Wildlife has created a Delaware Wildlife Action Plan to coordinate wildlife conservation practices in the 21st century.

Endanged Species

To help prevent species from becoming endangered, Delaware currently has a Wildlife Action Plan in place for restoring and maintaining important habitats and dwindling populations of the state’s wildlife species.

Federal Funding for Fish & Wildlife

Delaware receives federal funds from the Wildlife Restoration Act, the Sport Fish Restoration Act, and State Wildlife Grants to support wildlife conservation, hunting, fishing, boating and education.

Fish Consumption Advisories

DNREC and the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) work together to monitor the presence of chemical toxins in the flesh of finfish and shellfish in Delaware waters.

Fish Monitoring via Electrofisher

Electrofishing is one of the most efficient sampling methods available to fisheries biologists. It uses an electric current to temporarily stun fish. This lets biologists sample and survey fish populations with minimal disturbance and risk to the fish.

Fish and Wildlife Enforcement

Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers protect wildlife and fisheries resources, promote boating education and safety, promote hunting and fishing, respond to boating emergencies and are a partner in Delaware’s Homeland Security maritime mission.


The Fisheries Section works to enhance and protect Delaware’s fish and aquatic resources in support of recreational and commercial fishing.

Gamefish and Freshwater Fishing Restrictions

Gamefish are found in either tidal or non-tidal freshwater in Delaware. Gamefish taken from Delaware waters cannot legally be sold, traded or bartered unless authorized by permit.

Operation Terrapin Rescue

Operation Terrapin Rescue is a volunteer program to help Diamondback terrapins move safely between the Delaware Bay and their nesting sites near Port Mahon. It also collects accurate and valuable data on the terrapins’ movements.

Research & Monitoring Fish Populations

Biologists from the Division of Fish and Wildlife keep track of the state’s fish populations. They work on Delaware’s rivers, ponds, estuaries, the Delaware Bay, and coastal waters and study how different species are faring.

Public Freshwater Fishing Ponds

More than 30 Delaware freshwater lakes and ponds are open for fishing and other recreation. These impoundments, most of them managed by the Division of Fish and Wildlife, range in size from five to 189 acres. They support a variety of gamefish.

Shellfish Aquaculture

Leases are available for lands within defined Shellfish Aquaculture Development Areas (SADA), which have expedited state and federal permitting processes, and outside of these areas.

Small Pond Angling

In addition to Delaware’s many state-owned freshwater fishing ponds, there are nine small ponds, most geared toward bank fishing and most managed by the Division of Fish and Wildlife. They are ideal for beginners and youth angling.

Shorebird Project Volunteer

The Project needs volunteers with experience in bird capture, handling and banding, avian surveys and data collection. Less-experienced volunteers can be trained.

Delmarva Fox Squirrel Conservation Plan

The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife is implementing a conservation plan for the Delmarva fox squirrel. This sub-species of the fox squirrel, found only on the Delmarva Peninsula, is rare in Delaware.

Hunting Wildlife in Delaware

The Division of Fish and Wildlife manages 19 public wildlife areas; over 62,000 acres of land. In addition to providing habitat for a variety of wildlife, these lands provide hunting and other outdoor recreational opportunities. Much of this land, and many acres of private land, provide hunting during a number of seasons.

Hunting and Fishing Guides, Seasons and Maps

The Division of Fish and Wildlife manages over 62,000 acres of Delaware land at 19 public wildlife areas that provide hunting opportunities as well as habitat for a variety of species.

Managed Hunts

Managed or controlled hunting is a highly organized effort to reduce the local deer population in urban areas.

Hunters with Disabilities

State wildlife areas offer specialized blinds/stands and hunting locations for hunters with varying degrees of physical disability. Special permits (such as hunting from a vehicle permits) are also available in certain situations.

Sportsmen Against Hunger

During Delaware’s deer season, the Delaware Sportsmen Against Hunger program encourages hunters to share their harvest by donating venison to Delawareans in need. All donated deer are processed into ground venison free of charge to the hunter.

Invasive Aquatic Species

Delaware, along with other states in the Mid-Atlantic Region, has been invaded by non-native aquatic species that pose a threat to native species, to ecological processes, and to the economy.

Mosquito Control

DNREC’s Mosquito Control Section provides mosquito control services throughout Delaware to maintain quality of life and protect public health by reducing the possibility of mosquito-borne illnesses.

Coyotes in Delaware

Documented coyote sightings are not new in any of Delaware’s three counties Coyotes (Canis latrans) now makes its habitat in all 50 states but Hawaii, and they have been spotted in Delaware both north and south of the C&D Canal.

Deer Damage Assistance

Many farmers report significant damage to their crops caused by deer. By combining non-lethal techniques with targeted harvest, farmers can reduce crop damage.

Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a disease of the brain and nervous system in members of the family Cervidae (deer, elk, or moose). It has not been found in Delaware, but has in 26 other states and four Canadian provinces. State wildlife officials are taking steps to avoid its spread into Delaware.

Delaware’s White-Tailed Deer

White-tailed deer are one of the most important wildlife species managed in Delaware. Wildlife-watchers, photographers, and hunters flock to the state in pursuit of deer. They contribute millions of dollars each year to the state’s economy.

Trout Stamp Program

Delaware’s Freshwater Trout Program is a self-supporting fishery supported, in part, by funds derived from the state’s trout stamp program.

Turkey Hunting

The 2021 spring wild turkey hunting season will run from April 10 through May 9, 2021. A special one-day hunt for youth and non-ambulatory hunters is set for April 3, 2021.

Operation Game Theft

The Operation Game Theft Fund was established by the Delaware General Assembly to assist in the apprehension and conviction of game law violators. Rewards of up to $1,000 are available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of violators.

Outdoors Information Education for Youth and Adults

The Division of Fish and Wildlife offers a variety of educational and outreach programs.

Shorebird Project

Shorebirds are an important part of the ecology of Delaware’s shorelines. But they are under threat; populations are declining. The Delaware Shorebird Project works to mitigate that threat, through research and monitoring, habitat protection, and management planning.

Waterfowl Surveys

The Division of Fish and Wildlifevconducts annual waterfowl surveys to measure long-term trends in duck and goose populations. The survey results help increase biologists’ knowledge about the state’s waterfowl populations and habitat and help the state make informed decisions about habitat management and hunting.

Waterfowl Stamp Program

The Delaware Waterfowl Stamp Program helps raise funds for waterfowl conservation. Hunters and stamp collectors buy stamps and prints. The money raised is used to restore and improve wetland habitat vital for migratory waterfowl.

Wildlife Area Maps and Regulations

There are general rules and regulations that apply at all land and waters administered by the Division of Fish and Wildlife. There are also rules specific to individual wildlife areas.

Forests and Forestry

Peaple walking near a lake with trees at state park

Forest Conservation

Delaware’s Forest Action Plan consists of two major documents: a comprehensive forest resource assessment and a statewide forest strategy. The plan is submitted to the U.S. Forest Service every ten years as part of a comprehensive process that involves staff, governmental partners at all levels, and important stakeholders including private landowners, industry groups, nonprofits, natural resource agencies, and the general public.

Forest Fire Prevention and Detection

The Delaware Forest Service works to minimize damage from wildland fire through prevention and suppression activities.

State Forests

The Forest Service manages three state forests totaling more than 20,000 acres; Blackbird Forest near Smyrna, Taber Forest near Harrington, and Redden Forest near Georgetown.

Urban and Community Forestry Program

Delaware’s Urban and Community Forestry Program offers a range of technical and financial assistance programs to help municipalities, nonprofit groups, community associations, and homeowners to plant and care for their trees.

Groundwater Monitoring

Water being pumped into a container outside

Groundwater is water that is below the surface of the earth, residing in aquifers between layers of soil or rock. While some drinking water in Delaware comes from groundwater sources (after it has been treated), other drinking water comes from surface sources like rivers (again, treated before it is sent to homes and businesses).

The State Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the federal Environmental Protection Agency regulate, monitor, enforce and respond to emergencies regarding potential contaminants in the ground that might pose a threat to the water people use.

In some areas, wells are prohibited or water use is restricted because of these issues. A good source of information about areas of concern that might be in your area is DNREC's Environmental Navigator tool or search the EPA's Environmental Data.

But the water quality tests done by water systems or ones you have done on your own private well are the best indication about the drinking water you consume.

USGS National Water Information System: Mapper

The USGS annually monitors groundwater levels in thousands of wells in the United States. Groundwater level data are collected and stored as either discrete field-water-level measurements or as continuous time-series data from automated recorders. Data from some of the continuous record stations are relayed to USGS offices nationwide through telephone lines or by satellite transmissions providing access to current groundwater data. Once a complete day of readings are received from a site, daily summary data are generated and made available online. Annually, the USGS finalizes and publishes the daily data in a series of water-data reports.

Pesticides Monitoring Program

The Delaware Department of Agriculture's Pesticide section began monitoring the state's shallow groundwater for pesticides in 1995. Since then, the Department has collected more than 1000 individual groundwater samples from over 220 domestic, agricultural, and monitoring wells. Individual samples have been screened for up to twenty-two different pesticides that are commonly used in agriculture and the commercial industry. These include alachlor, atrazine, carbofuran, chlorothalonil, chlorpyrifos, cyanazine, diazinon, dicamba, dieldrin, glyphosate, lambda-cyhalothrin, lindane, malathion, metolachlor, metribuzin, pendimethalin, picloram, simazine and the compound 2, 4-D. The majority of the wells tested negative. Much of this data is presented in a report of investigations co-authored by the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) and the Department of Agriculture. The report is titled: Report of Investigations No. 61 entitled "The Occurrence and Distribution of Several Agricultural Pesticides in Delaware's Shallow Ground Water" and can be obtained through the Delaware Geological Survey.

Cleanup of Contaminated Properties

The Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances oversees the handling, transferring and storing of solid and hazardous materials by regulating, monitoring, inspecting, enforcing and responding to emergencies. The Division also implements the state's permitting and compliance programs. The following Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances programs address environmental clean-up:

  • Site Investigation & Restoration Branch is responsible for the identification, evaluation and remediation of hazardous waste sites, from Brownfields to federal Superfund sites, in the State.
  • Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Branch ensures - through regulation and permitting mechanisms - that waste generated, transported, treated, recycled, reused or disposed in Delaware is managed in an environmentally safe manner. The Branch also encourages, through voluntary means, waste reduction, reuse, and recycling activities.
  • Tank Management Branch administers and assists with the installation, management of abandonment, removal and cleanup of underground and above-ground storage tank systems, to prevent contamination of soils and groundwater supplies. The staff also permits the installation and operation of vapor recovery equipment and inspects boilers and pressure vessels to ensure public safety.

Environmental Database

GIS data for sites, notifications, violations and releases. There are comprehensive files available through the links on this page.

Water Conditions Summary for Delaware

The Water Conditions Summary is an online monthly summary of water conditions in Delaware. Principal factors in determining water conditions are precipitation, streamflow, and groundwater levels in aquifers. Data from rain gages, stream gages, and observation wells located throughout Delaware have been collected and compiled since the 1960s by the Delaware Geological Survey. These data are displayed as hydrographs and are also available for download. In general, water is abundant in Delaware, but supply is restricted by natural geologic conditions in some areas, by contamination in others, and is dependent on precipitation.

Groundwater Data

Ground-water levels are basic information needed for evaluating water conditions and for basic and applied research. For these efforts, water levels are being measured statewide in wells completed in multiple aquifers. Some wells are measured for specific projects, such as the Coastal Aquifers Salinity Project and the Water Conditions program, while other wells are measured so that staff can maintain long term records of ground-water levels for evaluation of trends.

Pesticide Compliance

The Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) Pesticide Compliance section regulates the use of pesticides in Delaware. Services provides by the DDA Pesticide Compliance section include: training, licensing, and regulating certified applicators; licensing businesses to apply pesticides commercially; registering pesticide products used in the state; collecting and recycling plastic pesticide containers; monitoring and assessing the state's shallow groundwater; performing EPA Worker Protection Standard inspections; and responding to complaints from homeowners, farmers, and others regarding concerns for health, property, and crops.


Haybale on near crops on farm land

Aglands Preservation and Planning

The Planning Section works to preserve Delaware’s agricultural heritage through farmland preservation and land-use planning. The professional planning staff advises and supports the Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation.

Beach Preservation

The Division of Watershed Stewardship's Shoreline and Waterway Management Section regulates coastal construction along with dune and beach protection and conservation practices. The section also works to protect and enhance eroded beaches, bolstering the state’s capability for enduring coastal storms.

Cost Share Program Questions & Answers

A list of frequently asked questions, and answers, about the phragmites control cost-share program offered by the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

County Planning and Land Use

The Office of State Planning Coordination's mission is the continuous improvement of the coordination and effectiveness of land use decisions made by state, county, and municipal governments while building and maintaining a high quality of life in the State of Delaware.

Dam Safety Program

The Delaware Dam Safety Program was developed to reduce the risk of failure of dams and to prevent injuries to persons, damage to downstream property and loss of reservoir storage.

Do-it-Yourself Phragmites Control Tips

The Division of Fish and Wildlife offers a phragmites control cost-share program to help landowners control larger stands of phragmites.

Estuary Research

The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) is one of 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves across the country whose goal is to establish, protect, and manage natural estuarine habitats for research, education, and coastal stewardship.

Flood Mitigation and Permitting

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) works with other state agencies, with county and municipal governments, and with partners in the private sector to ensure that Delawareans are safe from flooding events, and that water draining from the land is properly controlled and filtered to remove pollutants. DNREC oversees drainage, control of sediment and stormwater, management of tax ditches, and the safety of the state’s dams.

Plants and Plant Communities

The Division of Fish and Wildlife, working with the Water Resources Center, part of the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration, maintains online databases of data and information about plants and plant communities in Delaware.

Private Lands Conservation Assistance

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

Shoreline and Waterway Management

The mission of the Shoreline and Waterway Management Section is to maintain and improve Delaware’s shoreline and waterways (bays and canals). Overall, the section manages the shoreline through regulation of coastal construction activities and implementation of dune and beach management practices. We also work to protect and enhance eroded beaches to enable continued recreational use of this precious resource. Additionally, we work to improve the state’s ability to endure severe coastal storms with minimal damage to public and private property and infrastructure.

Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands Permits

Authorization from the Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands Section is required for activities in tidal wetlands or in tidal and non-tidal waters in the State of Delaware. The Section issues various types of authorizations depending upon the location and type of activity proposed.

Whole Basin Management

Whole Basin Management, encourages the various programs from throughout DNREC to work in an integrated manner to assess different geographic areas of the state defined on the basis of drainage patterns

Waste Management

Person placing a clear drinking container in a recycle bin near various colored recycle bins.

Above & Below Ground Tank Compliance

The Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances regulates the installation, operation, maintenance, and closure of underground and aboveground storage tank systems in order to prevent contamination of soils and groundwater.


What would you rather grow? A rich backyard garden? Or a an ever-expanding landfill down the road? By composting your yard waste and kitchen scraps, you can reduce the amount of waste that you are feeding to the landfill and at the same time produce food for your yard and garden that is as good as any soil conditioner your money can buy.

Hazardous Waste Notification and Reporting

Small quantity and large quantity generators of hazardous waste must notify the state of Delaware of their activities. Large quantity generators are required to submit annual reports to the state.

Infectious Waste

The Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances regulates the treatment, packaging, storage, transportation, and disposal of infectious waste in the state.

Recycling Services

Recycling is more than just a feel-good activity or a way to teach environmental stewardship in school. Recycling is an economic engine that has created job opportunities in Delaware and has significantly reduced Delaware’s rate of trash disposal while extending the life of our landfills.

Solid and Hazardous Waste

The Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances is responsible for controlling the storage, transport and disposal of solid, infectious and hazardous waste in Delaware. The Division also coordinates recycling and yard waste management

State Emergency Response Commission

In the unlikely event a hazardous materials incident were to occur in Delaware, emergency services, government agencies and industry would respond to protect life, property and the environment.

Tanks Compliance

The Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances regulates the installation, operation, maintenance, and closure of underground and aboveground storage tank systems in order to prevent contamination of soils and groundwater. The Division permits the installation and operation of vapor recovery equipment. And it oversees cleanup of releases from both underground and aboveground storage tank systems.

What and Where to Recycle

Recycling is more than just a feel-good activity or a way to teach environmental stewardship in school. Recycling is an economic engine that has created job opportunities in Delaware and has significantly reduced Delaware’s rate of trash disposal while extending the life of our landfills


image: boat sailing on ocean at sundown

Artificial Reef Program

Delaware has 14 permitted artificial reef sites in Delaware Bay and along the Atlantic Coast. Cleaned and stable construction materials, boats, and subway cars create new habitat. They support expanded recreational fishing and diving.

Delaware Aquatic Resources Education Center

The Aquatic Resources Education Center, operated by the Division of Fish and Wildlife, focuses on wetlands, fishing and other aquatic education themes.

Delaware's Water Quality

Information and resources on the Delaware Water System

Delaware Water Conditions

Geologic and hydrologic research and exploration for Delaware

Groundwater Financial Assistance

The Environmental Finance Office provides planning, engineering and financial assistance in the form of low-interest loans and grants to eligible applicants that request assistance to promote water quality projects which protect natural resources and reduce the risk of pollution from septic tanks, underground storage tanks and other activities.

Groundwater Licenses/Licensees

The Groundwater Discharges Section issues licenses for the various professions involved in designing, installing and maintaining on-site wastewater treatment and disposal systems. Licenses are granted under the state’s on-site systems regulations and with input from the On-Site Systems Advisory Board.

Hydrology Data and Reports

Delaware's water, both ground and surface, is one of its most important natural resources. It is essential for meeting the needs of all segments of our society and for maintaining economic growth and agriculture.

Recreational Water Quality Monitoring

DNREC monitors recreational waters to protect the public. It tests for levels of Enterococci bacteria at all guarded, and several unguarded, public beaches during the swimming season. It tests several freshwater ponds for special events.

Resources for Pond Owners

Many small “farm” ponds in Delaware provide important recreational opportunities. Children may catch their first bluegill from such a pond. Ponds provide aesthetic beauty, irrigation, fire safety in rural areas, and wildlife habitat.

Whole Basin Management

Whole Basin Management, encourages the various programs from throughout DNREC to work in an integrated manner to assess different geographic areas of the state defined on the basis of drainage patterns