Contact: Kimberly Cole, Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR), 302-739-6377, or Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
28th Delaware Coastal Cleanup and ‘Arts in the Estuary’
event at DNERR and John Dickinson Plantation
highlight National Estuaries Week (September 20-27)
DOVER (Sept. 18, 2014) – With hands-on activities that include the 28th annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup and an “Arts in the Estuary” celebration replete with demonstrations, performances and native plants for sale, this year’s National Estuaries Week (September 20-27), offers an open opportunity for Delawareans to experience what’s been called America’s “tidally awesome” estuaries.
In Delaware, National Estuaries Week is highlighted by a variety of activities, including:
· Saturday, Sept. 20 – The 28th annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup will take place from 9 a.m. to noon. Sponsored by DNREC and conservation partners, the cleanup spans the First State’s 97-mile eastern coastline and includes river and ocean shorelines as well as wetland and watershed areas. This year, nearly 50 sites statewide are targeted. For more information on the coastal cleanup please visit the DNREC website.
· Saturday, Sept. 27 – Join the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR), the John Dickinson Plantation, and the Delaware Native Plant Society celebration of National Estuaries Day by experiencing the estuary through the artistic viewpoint at the 2nd Annual Arts in the Estuary Festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Enjoy various artisans, performers and authors or try your hand at some artwork at this free, family-friendly event that takes place rain or shine at the St. Jones Reserve in Dover. For more information please visit the “Arts in the Estuary” website.
The national estuarine research reserve system, supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is the nation’s largest estuary program, protecting more than 1.3 million acres of coastal land and water. The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, encompassing 6,206 acres, has locations at the St Jones Reserve in Dover and the Blackbird Creek Reserve in Townsend. DNERR received its national designation in 1993, and celebrated its 21st anniversary this year.
“We invite everybody to get out to an estuary near them to explore and appreciate the myriad of benefits they provide,” says Erica Seiden, acting chief of NOAA’s Estuarine Reserves Division. “Visit one of our 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves and take part in fun educational and volunteer activities that highlight why these places, where the river meets the sea, are vital to our economic well-being and quality of life.”
Last year’s National Estuaries Week drew 15,463 volunteers who logged a combined 222,712 hours, contributing an estimated economic value of more than $4.9 million according to Restore America’s Estuaries, which helps coordinate the event.
About Estuaries (from NOAA’s Estuarine Reserves Division):
Estuaries are ecosystems along the oceans or Great Lakes where freshwater and saltwater mix to create wetlands, bays, lagoons, sounds, or sloughs. The pristine spaces and rich natural resources of healthy estuaries help preserve coastal community resilience and quality of life while powering both the local and national economies.
A 2008 study found that 50 percent of U.S. commercially harvested fish depend at some point on estuaries and nearby coastal waters. Recreation and tourism coffers also get a big boost as hikers, birdwatchers, and other outdoor enthusiasts visit estuaries and spend their money in nearby towns.
In a coastal and Great Lakes study, Economics: National Ocean Watch found that in 2011 the combined economic sectors of tourism, recreation, and living resources employed more than 2 million people, paid out $45 million in wages, and generated more than $100 billion in gross domestic product.
It’s not all about industry and jobs, either. Healthy estuaries serve as natural filters for runoff, help protect against storm surge, supply critical habitat for commercial and recreational species, and feature fun places that host millions annually who boat, swim, fish, kayak, and more.
Many estuaries function as “living laboratories” for scientists conducting field research on water quality, habitat protection, and climate adaptation issues. Estuary staff members also provide education and training programs to the public and to coastal managers.
In 2012, the research reserves were the site of 281 research projects and provided environmental education to more than 84,000 students from Pre-K through graduate school. In addition, the reserves offered 331 training programs to aid coastal professionals dealing with water quality, habitat, and climate change issues in their communities.
Restoring and strengthening our estuaries is critical to preserving our coasts for future generations. Whether you volunteer at a nearby bay or come explore for the day, National Estuaries Week is a perfect reason to be where the river meets the sea.
Vol. 44, No. 320