Delaware Public Media

Science, Health, Tech

Delaware Public Media's coverage of stories involving, science, health, medicine, technology and the environment.

DNREC continues efforts to clean up oil spill

Mar 17, 2015

DNREC’s Emergency Response Team is continuing to oversee the cleanup Monday of a cargo-ship oil spill last week at the Port of Wilmington.

Environmental contractors under DNREC and U.S. Coast Guard supervision will conduct cleanup operations along 1,500 feet of shoreline in New Castle. The spill also affected smaller areas of the Delaware River north and south of Battery Park.

Eli Chen/Delaware Public Media

The Nature Conservancy presented the TEDx Wilmington talks at Winterthur Museum for its 25th anniversary last Friday.

One of the three speakers providing their perspective on conservation was Jim Borel, vice president of DuPont, who spoke about global food security.

Delawareans who missed the deadline to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act Marketplace may still have a chance to avoid a penalty.

The state Department of Health and Social Services says residents who missed the February deadline to avoid a penalty have from March 15 to April 30 to sign up for health coverage.

If you venture along the hiking trails at White Clay Creek State Park in Newark, you come across a long vine with triangular leaves and stems covered with barbs.

This is the invasive mile-a-minute weed. In the 1930s, the vine traveled from Asia to a nursery in Pennsylvania, where in a matter of years, it broke loose and began to conquer the surrounding the environment. The weed has now has invaded 12 states in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S.  In Delaware, the mile-a-minute weed has a patchy presence. In addition to White Clay Creek State Park, it can also be seen in tax ditches downstate.

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The state Division of Public Health reported a confirmed case of Vancomycin-resistant  Staphylococcus aureus, or VRSA, in New Castle County Thursday.

DPH says the 67-year old patient had extensive underlying conditions and is currently being treated on an outpatient basis. The patient is expected recover.

VRSA is extremely rare, and no human-to-human transmission has ever been documented in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which confirmed the VRSA case, say it is only the 14th recorded case of the infection in the country.

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The FDA recommends that we limit our sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams a day. But the average American consumes a daily amount of 3,400 milligrams.

Physicians have long warned us that too much salt can be a lot of trouble when it comes to high blood pressure. But researchers at Christiana Care Health System and University of Delaware say that after reviewing over a hundred studies, the adverse effects of salt can also be seen in our organs.

Whether you’re someone who enjoys sunbathing down at Cape Henlopen, fishing in the Inland Bays or even walking your dog along the Christina River, chances are that you might care about the state of Delaware’s waterways.

Brenna Goggin, advocacy manager at the Delaware Nature Society, said that this is the idea behind a new clean water campaign that they’re launching with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and the Center for the Inland Bays. These local groups are looking to engage with recreationists and educate them about water quality.

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Delaware's state government Monday stepped up its plans to respond to climate change by publishing a wide-ranging and detailed action plan for state agencies.

The Climate Framework describes some 150 initiatives that will be undertaken by agencies including health, economic development, transportation and environment to help prevent the worst effects of climate change or to adapt to them.

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Environmentalists are seeking political support for a fresh attempt to give federal protection to water quality, fish stocks and recreational opportunities in the Delaware River Basin.

The Delaware River Basin Conservation Act, expected to be reintroduced to Congress in early March, would elevate safeguards on environmental quality in the region that stretches from upstate New York to the mouth of the Delaware Bay by requiring that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service coordinates the work of an array of state and local environmental groups.

Photo Courtesy: Uwe Kils

If you’ve ever been swimming along the shoreline, chances are, you probably have come across zooplankton. Most are microscopic, but some are visible to the naked eye, like jellyfish.

“These might be the copepods that you might know from SpongeBob [Squarepants], the evil Plankton character," said Cohen. "Or they might be things that spend only a portion of their life in the plankton [stage] and that might be like the larval stage of barnacles or crabs.”