Delaware National Resources Inventory

Delaware 2007 National Resources Inventory (NRI)

Phil King, Acting Assistant State Soil Scientist
Phone: (302) 6856-3990
The 2007 National Resources Inventory (NRI) is the latest in a series of inventories conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). It provides updated information on the status, condition, and trends of land, soil, water, and related resources on the nation's non-Federal land. The 2007 NRI provides nationally consistent data for the 25-year period 1982-2007.

The NRI survey program is scientifically based, employing recognized statistical sampling methods. The 2007 NRI was conducted by NRCS in cooperation with Iowa State University’s Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology (ISU-CSSM), which serves as the NRI Statistical Unit providing statistical and survey methods support for the NRI survey program.


Significant findings for 2007 are as follows:

• The state of Delaware covers 1,533,500 acres; nearly 19% is water, two percent is Federal land, and the remaining non-Federal land covers 1,212,300 acres, or 79% of the state.

• Non-Federal rural lands are predominantly cropland (420,000 acres), forest land (339,000 acres), other rural land (135,000 acres) and pastureland (37,400 acres). Delaware - 2007 Land Use Land Cover Data

• Cropland acreage declined by 105,100 acres, from 525,600 acres in 1982 to 420,500 acres in 2007.  Approximately 68 percent (66,000 acres) of the reduction in cropland acreage is due to urban development, with the remainder from conversion to pasture (16,300 acres), other rural uses (9,700 acres), or forest (4,800 acres).  

• Delaware's average erosion rates on cropland remained about the same from 1982. Rates of sheet and rill erosion on cropland declined from 2.04 tons of soil per acre per year in 1982 to 1.96 tons in 2007. Delaware Major Land Use Land Cover Changes 1982-2007; Delaware Land Use Land Cover Breakdown in 5-year Intervals

• About 121,300 acres of land were newly developed between 1982 and 2007, bringing the total to about 255,900 acres; that represents a 90 percent increase. This means that nearly one half of all land that has ever been developed in Delaware was developed during the last quarter century.

• About 40 percent (or 370,600 acres) of the non-Federal rural land base in Delaware is classified as prime farmland. This represents a loss of 64,900 acres of prime farmland since 1982; most of this loss was due to development.  Delaware Prime Farmland Losses