Senate Approves Over $2.8 Million for Environmental and Educational Initiatives in Delaware

Wilmington, DE- The United States Senate approved more than $2.8 million for agricultural and environmental research to aid Delaware’s farmers and find solutions to some of the state’s environmental and soil quality issues, Senator Tom Carper announced today. The money was included in the Senate Omnibus Appropriations Bill that will fund spending through FY 2003. “Research is the key to protecting our environment and improving our agricultural yields. These University projects will boost our efforts to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous pollution runoff while sustaining agricultural productivity,” Carper said. “Our state needs the tools of new technology to improve our environment and aid our farmers. As our interest in science and technology grows so will our desire to dream up innovative solutions. These centers will be an invaluable resource.” The 2003 Senate Omnibus Appropriations bill includes: · $290,000 for the Delaware State Herbarium · $120,000 for the Delaware Institute of Soil and Environmental Quality · $500,000 for the City of Wilmington’s Vacant Property Initiative to address the increasing number of long-term vacant and boarded properties that blight many neighborhoods. · $400,000 for the Wilmington Riverfront Environmental Education Center · $1 million for the Delaware Aerospace Education Foundation, a scientific complex to provide area youth with education and learning facilities to promote scientific and technical literacy. · $500,000 for the University of Delaware Center for the Study of Metals in the Environment to study impact on soil for various activities including nutrient pollution from poultry operations. The Claude E. Phillips Herbarium at Delaware State University offers agricultural producers and researchers a vast array of information pertaining to noxious weeds, invasive species, wetland vegetation, and several other topics that affect the livelihood of our nation’s agricultural producers. As these issues significantly impact more and more communities, this is a valuable asset to the state, the region and the country. Established in conjunction with the University of Delaware, Wesley College, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the Delaware Department of Agriculture, and the Mt. Cuba Center for the Study of Piedmont Flora, it is the only cooperative herbaria in the country. The Institute of Soil and Environmental Quality at the University of Delaware’s mission is to assist in solving the vast array of soil and environmental quality issues facing Delaware. The Institute will conduct basic and applied research on soil and environmental quality issues, serve as an unbiased scientific advisory body to state, regional and national advisory and regulatory agencies, and conduct public education and outreach programs designed to further public understanding of soil and environmental issues and thus foster effective citizen involvement in environmental policy making. One of the research projects that the Institute has focused upon is non-point source pollution of surface waters by nutrients as this is a major environmental issue in Delaware and much of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Research conducted by the institute will integrate the efforts of animal scientists, soil scientists, hydrologists, and environmental engineers to develop the new best management practices for phosphorous. This project is the brainchild of the Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation, a non-profit group working with state and local governments, community leaders and several corporations including ICI Americas, Inc. and AstraZeneca. The facility will be the first of its kind in Delaware and will include interactive exhibits, learning laboratories, professional development workshops and a resource center. The Omnibus Appropriations bill must now go to conference with the House. It is expected that the bill will then be sent to the President to be signed into law.