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2011 Environmental Excellence Awards

For Excellence in Wetlands, Watersheds, and Water Quality

Agencies Awarded:

Delaware Department of Transportation

Federal Highway Administration
DelMar Division

Riverfront Development Corporation

Project Contributors:

Delaware General Assembly

Delaware Nature Society

DuPont Company

Longwood Foundation

New Castle County

Russell W. Peterson

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Welfare Foundation

For Excellence in Wetlands, Watersheds, and Water Quality

Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge

The Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge is a newly constructed 218-acre refuge on the banks of the Christina River just southwest of Wilmington, Delaware. Industrial and commercial development and the construction of I-95 nearby had adversely affected the ecosystem in the Wilmington area. Beginning in 1998, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) DelMar Division Office, the Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC), and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DOT) collaborated to remove invasive plants and encourage the return of native plant and animal species to the marsh by stabilizing shorelines, repairing dikes, and improving water circulation. To improve access to and educate the public about the restored marsh, in 2009, the FHWA DelMar Division Office, RDC, and Delaware DOT built an interactive visitor center and constructed a pedestrian bridge and boardwalk trail that connects to Wilmington's Riverwalk, a popular pedestrian facility. By incorporating ecological, educational, and access elements into the project, the FHWA DelMar Division Office, RDC, and Delaware DOT restored a critical urban ecological resource while providing educational and recreational opportunities for the public.

Photograph of the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge from above Photograph of the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
Updated: 12/03/2012
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