Delaware Landowner Incentive Program (DELIP)
Wetland Restoration and Enhancement
Wetlands are one of the most productive environments, providing a host of benefits, including filtering pollutants from the water, providing protection from flooding and providing critical habitat for many plants and animals of conservation concern. Delaware has 132,000 acres of freshwater wetlands and almost 90,000 acres of tidal wetlands, however, in the past 40 years approximately 40,000 acres of wetlands have been lost. While regulatory mechanisms offer little protection for many of Delaware’s wetlands, incentive programs for private landowners offer a significant opportunity to restore and enhance wetlands specifically for species-at-risk. The Delaware Landowner Incentive Program (DELIP), targets restoration of farmed and prior converted wetlands and the enhancement of existing rare and unique wetland ecosystems. Restoration of prior converted wetlands (areas that were once wetlands that have been converted to agricultural practices) serves to benefit a number of species-at-risk including migratory shorebirds, migrating waterfowl and other wading birds. Pied-billed grebes, Bog turtles, Tiger salamanders, and Barking treefrogs are just some of the species that may benefit from wetland enhancement. Enhancement practices may include the addition of nesting cavities, fencing, invasive species control, woody vegetation control (where herbaceous understory and open canopy are the desired natural condition) and water management.
How do I know if my land has the potential for wetland restoration and/or enhancement? What should I look for?
Areas that flood periodically or have been ditched or tiled, areas adjacent to ditches or streams, and areas that contain invasive species such as Phragmites, yellow iris and purple loosestrife may be ideal areas for wetland restoration and/or enhancement.
Financial Assistance Available
Seventy-four percent cost-share, a flat rate of $2,220.00/acre will be provided to landowners interested in establishing a shallow water wetland greater than ¾ of an acre and 35 foot buffer, smaller than ¾ of an acre the landowner will receive $1,665.00. The flat rate includes costs for construction and planting in the pool area, berm and 35-foot buffer. In addition the landowner will receive a rental payment for the loss of agricultural income. The rental payment will be made annually, in the fall of each year. In return the landowner will be required to manage their early successional habitat for a period of 5 or 10 years. This may include invasive species control and disking every three-five years to maintain early successional stage if that is the desired outcome for the wetland.