The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve


The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) is one of 30 National Estuarine Research Reserves across the country whose goal is to establish, protect, and manage natural estuarine habitats for research, education, and coastal stewardship.

The DNERR has two main components, the Blackbird Creek Reserve in Townsend and the St. Jones Reserve in Dover. These sites include both brackish and freshwater estuaries, and represent the diverse estuarine ecosystems found throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

The DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy has finalized its update of the Reserve Management Plan for the next five years.

Mission and History

Delaware’s reserve was established in 1993, and is a cooperative program between the State of Delaware and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The mission of the DNERR is to preserve and manage natural resources through coastal stewardship within the Reserve as a place for research, and for providing education and outreach programs that promote better understanding of Delaware’s estuarine and coastal areas, and to promote informed coastal decision-making.

Please explore our website to learn more about research and monitoring, education, coastal training, stewardship efforts and volunteer opportunities at the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Read more about the focus and goals of DNREC’s DNERR program in the 2022-2027 DNERR Management Plan.