Delaware's estuaries getting help from Congress
Congress recently moved to invest in the nation’s estuaries, including two in the First State.
The Protect and Restore America’s Estuaries Act was signed into law last month - doubling funding for the National Estuary Program.
It can now receive up to $50 million for use across 28 estuary programs nationwide.
“This is great news for Delaware because it means that there will be more support for two of our estuaries - the Delaware River and Bay and the Inland Bays," said Chris Bason, the executive director for the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays. "The support will be for the National Estuary Program (NEP), which works collaboratively with communities to protect and restore the fish and wildlife habitat and the water quality of our estuaries.”
Bason says the most Congress could send Delaware’s way is $1 million per estuary program in the state.
Bason says that would be a significant increase and bolster work to educate residents and visitors about Delaware’s estuaries.
It would also fund habitat restoration projects - such as wetland creation and creating ways for fish to bypass dams to reach their spawning grounds.
Bason said he wanted to thank Delaware’s Congressional Delegation for backing the effort.
“We have a fantastic Congressional Delegation and they’re very concerned about the environment and they have a very great perspective,'" said Bason. "They know that environmental quality means economic quality and that’s no where more true than in Delaware - we’re a coastal state and the environment is an economic engine here - for tourism, for real estate and for fishing.”
Bason notes the additional money will also help educate residents and visitors about the Delaware’s estuaries and their economic impact.
It will also support habitat restoration projects, such as wetland creation, flood control in coastal communities and
Bason says last year alone, the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays helped restore 863 linear feet of shoreline and preserved 690 acres of open space with various partners.