Environmental Friends and Caretakers Call Slaughter Beach Home
On April 12th of 2004, the Town Council voted to declare Slaughter Beach a Horseshoe Crab Sanctuary with the help of ERDG through its Backyard Stewardship® program, one of seven community’s along the Delaware Bay. On June 12th of 2004, the Council adopted the Atlantic Horseshoe Crab as the Official Symbol of the Town of Slaughter Beach.
Prime Hook Wildlife Refuge, Milford Neck Wildlife Area and the Marvel Tract Salt Marsh border the Town to the west and the Delaware Bay borders it to the east. We share our space with a rich, diverse and fragile ecosystem. Each spring the Town readies itself for the return of our “tourists” season. In May and June Horseshoe Crabs come ashore to spawn. Slaughter Beach is one of the highest spawning areas in the world. After a very long flight migratory shorebirds return in the spring looking for the fine dining our beach provides (horseshoe crab eggs). When temperatures warm in the spring, baby Diamondback Terrapin Hatchlings begin emerging from their nests on the beach and start making their journey to the marsh. Female Terrapins leave the marsh and bay in search of nesting sites on the beach. The bald eagle is also making a return to the area. Fall brings additional migrations. The Monarch Butterfly migrates in September or early October and thousands of cross the Bay on their flight west. Late fall also brings the return of migratory waterfowl to the marshes in and around Slaughter Beach.
Slaughter Beach is an excellent area for research. On going studies are conducted and the town participates in activities such as:
- The Delaware Shorebird Monitoring Project
- The annual Horseshoe Crab Spawning Count
- Beach Nourishment and Habitat Restoration for Horseshoe Crabs
- The annual Coastal Clean Up
- Dune Grass Planting
- The Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute Dolphin Count
- MERR Marine Mammal Rescue and Stranding Program
- The “Just flip ‘em” Horseshoe Crab program sponsored by the Ecological Research and Development Group.
- Through a partnership with the Delaware Nature Society, educational programs are conducted in the wetlands at the Marvel Tract and on the beach. These programs teach school-aged children, and others, about wetland ecosystems and aquatic life in the Delaware Bay.