Sunday, January 9, 2022: Last Chance Fossil Collecting: C&D Canal, Delaware

Date: January 9, 2022

Time: 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

 

For fossil club only

REGISTER HERE: https://marylandnature.wildapricot.org/event-4613015

The north side of Reedy Point is one of the last accessible fossil-bearing areas along the C and D canal. It is also the most biodiverse area of the spoils. Unfortunately, it too is soon to be inaccessible. USACE is preparing to dredge and dump again, but this time the dredge site is in an area with no fossils. Reedy Point is to be buried under this new material. The timeline as of September/October was to begin dredging “at the end of this year or early next year.” As of mid-December, the area was still open for collecting. It may or may not be by mid-January.

People have been coming to collect Late Cretaceous marine fossils since the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal was first excavated in 1829. Until 1980, people could simply walk out into the canal at low tide and collect fossils where they were buried. In 1980, the Army Corps of Engineers dredged the canal to make it deep enough for ever-larger ships. The canal became too deep and treacherous to collect anything in-situ, but the spoils from the dredging were dumped all along the Corps-owned banks on both sides from Chesapeake City to Delaware City. Most of those spoils are no longer accessible due to the construction of a new bridge and a bicycle path, riprap deposits, use of the spoils for barrow, and returning vegetation.

The wealth of Reedy Point is in the microfossils. Although the most common finds are large oysters and belemnites (Delaware’s State Fossil), the bulk of the fauna there are much smaller. Sharp eyes may spot a miniscule echinoid unique to the canal, Boletechinus delawareicus. Ruffled oyster shells, tiny, solitary “button” corals, jingle (Anomia sp.) shells, encrusting sponges, bryozoa, and steinkerns from hundreds of species of mollusks are scattered across the surface of the sandy dump site. Most are smaller than a dime.

This area is extremely easy pickings. No digging is required. Some people do, and they find things, but surface collecting is much more productive. It is good for all ages as it is the world’s biggest sandbox! The place is very easy to navigate, but there is a walk of about ¼ mile to get from the road to the spoils area.

Spaces are limited to the first 20
This trip is open only to NHSM Fossil Club Members
SNOW DATE: January 16

Additional information about exact meeting location will be provided after registration

Cancelation Policy:
I understand that I am holding a spot for this field experience and that spaces for this event are limited. Cancellations made 7 or more days in advance of the field experience, will receive a refund (minus a $5 processing fee). Cancellations made within the week of the event will not receive a refund but can be transferred to a friend.

NHSM Fossil Club Members: $10.00

REGISTER HERE: https://marylandnature.wildapricot.org/event-4613015