National Estuary Program (NEP)

Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for Delaware Inland Bays

For well over two decades Delawareans have been concerned for the Inland Bays - Indian River, Rehoboth, and Little Assawoman. The Sea Grant Advisory Council, concerned about the impacts of unplanned growth on the Bays, sponsored a 1983 report, Decisions for Delaware, which stated the need for a comprehensive strategy to conserve these vulnerable resources. The report concluded that before such a strategy could be developed, a Governor’s bipartisan task force must be established to recommend a strategic plan for managing the Bays. The Governor’s Inland Bays Task Force was established; it reviewed the problems facing the Bays and in 1984 issued recommendations for their protection. Included among the task force recommendations was the establishment of a monitoring committee to oversee the implementation of the recommendations. The Inland Bays Monitoring Committee worked from 1984 to 1989 to ensure that the recommendations were carried out. More than 60 percent of the task force recommendations have been implemented.

Much work remains to be done to improve the environment in the Bays' watershed, although much has been done already. First, as the population in the watershed grows there remains a lack of comprehensive planning for sewage treatment and shoreline preservation. Secondly, the viability and growth of the agricultural industry presents new challenges for continuing the reduction of nutrients from these operations. The Inland Bays Estuary Program carried on this work through the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) development and implementation process. The Center for the Inland Bays shall continue implementing the CCMP.

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