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Middletown Transcript
  • Two groups to collaborate wetland restoration project at Betts Farm

  • Delaware Wild Lands and Ducks Unlimited will work together to preserve the farmland and enhance the wildlife on the 432-acre farm near the Delaware River.


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  • A project that will restore 12-acres of the Betts Farm in Middletown to wetlands will be completed within a year, members of Delaware Wild Lands Inc. said during a press conference Thursday.
    Delaware Wild Lands and Ducks Unlimited will work together to preserve the farmland and enhance the wildlife on the 432-acre farm near the Delaware River.
    “The great thing about Delaware is that we have committed conversationalists,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D- Del). “They commit their time and energy to preserving and improving wet lands and wild lands.”
    The project is estimated to cost $15,000.
    Delaware Wild Lands acquired the Betts Farm in the 1980’s through Mrs. Betts.
    “She grew up here and wanted to make sure it stayed as it is and wasn’t developed,” said Kate Hackett of DWL.
    Hackett said that the project will be done around the farmers’ schedules since the land is still used to harvest certain crops, such as corn.
    “We will take the wet areas out that don’t yield good crops,” said Kurt Anderson of Ducks Unlimited.
    The wet spots will be identified and converted to wildlife habitats.
    “It will reduce the wasted seed by farmers and keeps them from dumping chemicals into the wet land area,” Anderson said.
    Before surveying the Betts Farm Thursday, members of both organizations and Coons’ staff viewed the finished product of another conservation project.
    Four acres of the Brandywine Hundred Rod & Gun Club on Thorntown Road were converted back to wetlands in fall 2007. The project was completed within a week, but the work continues with planting and regular maintence.
    Hackett thanked Coons for increasing the federal funding they receive for wetland preservation in Delaware.
    “The eastern shore plays a critical role in the migration of millions of birds,” Coons said. “Delaware has an unique heritage and role.”
    Federal funds are generally leveraged 3 to 1.
    Some work has been done for the Betts Farm project pro bono, including the surveying of the site.
    Hackett said the project will be done by next spring, or sooner. They are working with the farmers since the land being taken out for agriculture is sensitive for farming.
    Ducks Unlimited has more than 6,500 members in Delaware who have already helped conserve more than 15,000 acres of land.
    The group has 15 current conservation projects state wide.
    Delaware Wild Lands has acquired more than 30,000 acres of land to protect state wide since 1961.
     

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