Aside from providing scenic vistas, serving recreational purposes, and fueling Delaware's ecotourism economy, wetlands have many other important functions. They clean and replenish our drinking waters, provide habitat and food for wildlife, absorb floodwaters, and protect our coasts from storm damage and sea level rise.
With 25% of Delaware's land area consisting of wetland habitat and the continual loss of wetlands due to sea level rise and development, it is important to understand how healthy our remaining wetlands are.
Although wetlands provide important ecosystem services, wetland management programs must compete with many other important issues for attention and funding from local stakeholders and decision-makers. Economic studies are often conducted to relay the value of services and resources provided by natural systems in dollar amounts.
A major part of DNREC's mission is to provide educational opportunities to students on the historical, cultural, and natural significance of the environment. Creating a better understanding of the natural environment can inspire stewardship as well as protection and preservation of our historical and natural resources.
DNREC works to protect and enhance eroding beaches to enable continued protective and recreational use through science-based dune and beach management practices, such as: nourishing eroding beaches, planting beach grass to promote dune growth, and fencing dunes to protect them from pedestrian traffic.