Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife

The Delaware Natural Heritage Program

is part of the

Association for Biodiversity Information

Natureserve - Encyclopedia of Life

InfoNatura - Birds and Mammals of Latin America

Delaware Natural Heritage Program Links

How to Make a Data Request

How to Contact DNHP

Natural Heritage Program Staff

Available Lists, Reports and Forms for Native and Non-native Plants and Animals

The Flora of Delaware Checklist Order Form - (Provided in Adobe Format)

The Delaware Natural Heritage Program conducts systematic biological surveys throughout the State of Delaware for the purpose of locating populations of rare or unique plant and animal species, and to identify and describe significant natural communities. These data are then used for a variety of purposes including: to inform land-use planning efforts, to prioritize sites for conservation and protection, to assist land managers, and to provide environmental review services.

The Delaware Natural Heritage Program is part of an international network including state natural heritage programs and conservation data centers, all building on the same data collection methodology. The Database is updated continuously and is used to set state, national, and global priorities for the preservation of natural diversity.

The DNHP was created in 1987 as a joint effort between the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), and The Nature Conservancy, a private non-profit conservation organization. The program is within the Wildlife Section of the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Our office is located near Smyrna, at the Aquatic Resources and Education Center on Route 9.

The Natural Heritage Database

The Natural Heritage Database is a continuously updated inventory of rare plant and animal species and natural communities in Delaware. It is the state's most comprehensive, centralized source of information on rare plants, animals, and natural communities. The Database is a compilation of information from a wide range of sources including publications, museum and herbarium collections, and fieldwork. The database is updated and improved as new data are obtained. The DNHP uses the database to assist individuals, corporations, agencies, and organizations in planning for the protection of habitat for rare species and natural communities.

How to Make a Data Request

Requests for information should be submitted on letterhead, and should include a full description of the proposed project (if any) and a copy of a map, preferably a U.S.G.S. topographic map, delineating the boundaries of the area of interest. In order to recover the costs of performing the data search, you will be charged $29.50 per hour (one hour minimum). In your letter, please state that you are aware of our fee schedule.

In addition, our staff try to be available to perform on-site inventories at a charge of $29.50 per hour plus travel costs.

All information requests should be addressed to:

Environmental Review/Information Request
Delaware Natural Heritage Program
Division of Fish and Wildlife
4876 Hay Point Landing Road
Smyrna, Delaware 19977

How to Contact DNHP

Delaware Natural Heritage Program
Division of Fish and Wildlife
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
4876 Hay Point Landing Road
Smyrna, DE 19977
(302) 653-2880 or 2881
Fax: (302) 653-3431

PROGRAM MANAGER I: Ms. Karen Bennett


ZOOLOGIST: Christopher Heckscher

BOTANIST: William McAvoy


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Natural Heritage Program Staff

The Delaware Natural Heritage Program is staffed by a community ecologist, a zoologist, a botanist, an associate biologist, an information manager, and a program coordinator. Together, the program has over fifteen years of graduate experience, including four (4) scientists on staff, and over thirty years of professional experience in conservation science.

Christopher (Kitt) Heckscher Zoologist

Kitt's responsibilities focus on planning and conducting inventories for rare vertebrate and invertebrate animal species in the State of Delaware. Recent and ongoing work includes surveys for freshwater mussel species in Delaware's streams and rivers, and censusing forest-dependent songbirds in Delaware's Great Cypress Swamp. Kitt came to the DNHP in 1993. Prior to employment in Delaware, Kitt worked as a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Forest Service in California on a forest bird monitoring project, and worked as a preserve manager for The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming. Kitt received his B.S in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University and is currently working on his Master of Science at the University of Delaware where he is studying nest site selection of the Veery (Cathares fuscesens) .

William (Bill) McAvoy Botanist

Bill takes primary responsibility for planning, coordinating, and conducting inventories for rare plant species in Delaware. He specializes in coastal plain flora with a particular interest in phytogeography. Bill joined the DNHP in 1990.

Peter Bowman Community Ecologist

Pete conducts vegetation surveys, coordinates with regional and state plant ecologists to develop the natural community classification for Delaware, and represents the program on other matters pertaining to community ecology. Prior to joining the DNHP in 1999, Pete worked as a research technician at the Joseph Jones Ecological Research Center in Newton, Georgia. He holds a B.S. in environmental science from Cook College, Rutgers University and a Master of Forestry from the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University for which he studied the herbaceous communities of longleaf and slash pine forests in northern Florida.

Karen Bennett Program Manager I

Karen is responsible for maintaining computer hardware and software programs, assisting other staff members in the use of these programs and in compiling, analyzing and presenting natural heritage data. She also assists in field work, including surveys for freshwater mussels and monitoring a population of a globally rare species of grass, Hirstís panic grass (Panicum hirstii). Before joining the DNHP in May 1997, Karen worked for the Nongame and Endangered Species Program/Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife, Denver Wildlife Research Center/USDA, Rutgers University and The Nature Conservancyís New Jersey field office. Karen earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and is currently completing her masterís thesis, which discusses bird hazards at airports, to fulfill the requirements for an M.S. in Ecology from Rutgers University.

Kevin Kalasz Assistant ZoologistI

Kevin conducts inventories for rare animal species in Delaware with emphasis on marsh-nesting songbirds and rails, grassland birds, nongame freshwater fish, and freshwater mussels.  He came to DNHP in 2001 to conduct inventory work on the Coastal Plain Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana nigrescens), forest-birds, and freshwater mussels.  Kevin has a B.A. from Albion College in Albion, Michigan and is currently finishing his thesis on bird community dynamics at local and landscape scales for his Master of Science in Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology from Frostburg State University.

In addition to the permanent staff, the DNHP contracts with botanical and zoological experts to assist in our field work.

This Page Last Updated on 11 February, 2003

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