Last night I attended the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays. It was very interesting, and many subjects were discussed. Chris Bason the Director for the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays started off with a update on the program for Aquaculture Restoration of Oysters, they are working on for our bays. The center has been working on oyster restoration for a few years now, and it is a great program. They are always looking for more people to help them with these efforts. He then talked about the vulnerability analysis that needs to be done for rising sea levels in Delaware. We are a “ground zero” state for this issue, this is not something we can avoid, it is happening, and will continue. One of the things that was discussed was spreading a thin layer of the “spoils” from dredging to build up already damaged marshes. Many areas not heavily hit by flood waters, and tide surge were protected by marshes. Building these up over time will help protect our bayside shorelines from storms and tidal surges. There were a lot of issues covered by Chris Bason, and I will talk with him soon about all them. Public comment meetings will be held sometime in March.
The highlight of the evening was a presentation by Secretary Collin O’Mara. He covered many points on DNREC’s concerns for the state of the inland bays and what can be done about them. Concerns with water run off pollutants that can not be filtered by existing marshes. Our run off in “out fall” areas overwhelms an already stressed ecosystem. Our waters are always cloudy, and stirred up from storms, and with a better marsh “system” in place much of that could be prevented, and possibly reversed in the future. Our bays need to be dredged in certain areas, and this was discussed. Since our waterways are strictly recreational, and not commercial, that governs what we can have done. The issues with the collapsing jetty cap at the North side of the Indian River Inlet was discussed briefly. This is an Army Corp of engineers issue. I video taped his talk, but it is just too “shaky” to post to our channel. I had to record him, he was covering many things in a short amount of time, and it will take a few days to digest everything. I was impressed with Secretary Collin O’Mara, he really cares about these issues. One of the things he and Governor Jack Markell saw when they flew over the bays, that the areas with good marsh growth survived Hurricane Sandy the best. One his main concerns, and should be everyone’s is the pollution in storm water run off, and how to fix areas that need better drainage for storms. I would assume this would be an area like Oak Orchard, that floods constantly from poor drainage. The longer water “stands” in an area and does not drain, it pollutes faster contaminating the bays. Obviously another concern is our dunes, and how to deal with large storms from rising sea levels. I will keep you updated on all of this information as we learn more.
Because of Delaware Coast Aid at Rudder town last night, the meeting was cut shorter than normal. The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays was a sponsor of this event, and everyone was attending. I dropped by the event for a little while, and later that night according to my friend Karen Hirst … “Great, great night at Delaware Coast Aid to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. Over $60,000 raised. Fabulous music by Love Seed Mama Jump; Lower Case Blues, Big Hat, No Cattle; and the E Street Shuffle Band who did an incredible Springsteen tribute. Great support from this side of the bay for our neighbors in NJ and NY.” I am proud of all Delawareans that attended last night, and supported this event. Our friends up north have been having very tough times. If you can help these folks, please do whatever you can. Hurricane Sandy spared Delaware just minor damage compared to our friends up north. If she had hit us like that, I probably would not be here to tell you all of this, we were very lucky. So please help out any way you can, I saw a lot of friends there last night, and want to thank all of you for coming. The storm may be gone but the aftermath will remain for some time.