Collaborative coastal grass-planting effort to help Indian River Inlet dune in future storms
LEWES (April 18, 2013) – A coastal grass planting effort capitalizing on Department of Correction’s VOP (violation of probation) laborers and privately-donated resources will help DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship bolster the north side of the Indian River Inlet against lost or displaced sand from future weather events.
A Sussex County farmer, William Wolter, Jr., donated several truckloads of established panic grass through DNREC’s Office of Community Services, and DOC Sussex Community Correction Center VOP laborers overseen by DNREC’s Shoreline & Waterway Management Section planted it at the Inlet earlier this month. The VOP laborers also loaded the grass from Mr. Wolter’s Owens Station farm and hunting preserve near Greenwood and transported it to the planting site.
Panic grass is prime vegetation for stabilizing dunes and has widespread use for coastal dune erosion control. Panic grass roots can grow six feet deep and its thick fibrous root system forms a barrier against erosion. As each plug of panic grass was planted on the west side of the dune at Indian River, it was supplemented with fertilizer donated by Perdue AgriRecycle LLC that helped establish the grass along the dune.
Perdue offered a ton of its microSTART60 Plus 7-2-2 fertilizer to the Shoreline & Waterway Management Section to get the panic grass growing as a windbreak and stabilizer along the inlet’s often-shifting sands. VOP laborers gave each plant hole a dose of granular fertilizer, then sprinkled additional fertilizer over it once the grass was planted.
The collaborative venture between Mr. Wolter, who grows panic grass for covering duck blinds, Dept. of Correction’s VOP program, and Perdue drew praise from the DNREC program manager who oversaw the planting. “A genuine example of citizens, the State and private industry working together to do something positive for the environment and help stabilize the sand north of the Inlet,” said Maria Sadler, DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship environmental program manager for field operations.
Ms. Sadler noted that Dept. of Correction’s VOP program also helps with DNREC’s annual beach-grass planting along Delaware’s coastal beaches, an annual event which has planted more than 5 million stems of American beach grass over the last 24 years since it began in 1990.
Contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902