Conservation

Delaware Audubon asks New Castle
to protect meadows

Meadows are essential for birds and other wildlife

Image: Red-winged BlackbirdThe Delaware Audubon Society has asked the Mayor and City Council of New Castle to protect and preserve meadows in any future municipal ordinance amendments. This action was in response to a since-tabled City Council agenda item that would have prohibited meadows within 1000 feet of residential and commercial properties.

Audubon is committed to transforming our communities into places where birds flourish. Over the past century, urbanization has taken contiguous, ecologically productive land and fragmented and transformed it with sterile lawns and exotic ornamental plants. The landscape in many areas no longer supports functioning ecosystems, nor provides healthy places for birds.

New Castle has a unique ecological and cultural story to tell. The city resides within the Delaware Coastal Zone, which has been designated as an Important Bird Area of Global Magnitude by the American Bird Conservancy and the National Audubon Society. New Castle's meadows, including Broad Dyke, Bull Hill, Buttonwood, the Ward Triangle and Dobbinsville, enhance biodiversity by providing native plant and wildflower habitat for birds and pollinating insects like bees and butterflies.

Meadows are considered a best practice for improving water quality, stormwater management and flooding prevention, and will become increasingly valuable in the future as runoff is compounded with the effects of sea level rise in the city.

Meadows create opportunities for New Castle residents and visitors to observe birds and other wildlife, exercise and enjoy nature. Ecotourism is a valuable industry in Delaware that is made possible by federal, state, county and local habitat protection measures, including the protection of meadows.

Meadows require less maintenance than mowed grounds, reducing air emissions and improving local air quality, particularly during summer months where Ozone Action Days and Air Quality Alerts for fine particulates are frequent.

Audubon's Bird-Friendly Communities program is a commitment to the sustainability of our urban, suburban, and rural places. We ask New Castle to be bird-friendly by protecting, even enhancing, meadow habitat within the city.