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The Delaware Bayshore Initiative


Enhancing the state's natural resources for
world-class conservation and boosting the
economy through 
recreational activities

Bayshore Initiative VideoDNREC is inviting current and potential recreational users of public lands along the Delaware Bayshore to participate in a survey. Survey responses will assist DNREC’s Delaware Bayshore Initiative Team with planning and implementing investments in the Bayshore region.
Take the Bayshore Initiative Survey

Extending from Pea Patch Island in New Castle County to the City of Lewes in Sussex County, the Delaware Bay shoreline is widely recognized as an area of global ecological significance. Its expansive coastal marshes, shoreline, agricultural lands and forests provide diverse habitat to many species, including migratory shorebirds. Birders and biologists from around the world come to central Delaware to witness the annual spring spectacle of more than a half million shorebirds taking a rest stop to dine on eggs laid by spawning horseshoe crabs.

 The Delaware Bayshore Initiative will collaboratively build on the region’s reputation as a unique and beautiful natural resource, and help improve the shoreline economy by encouraging more Delawareans and visitors to enjoy it through activities such as recreational fishing, hunting, boating and ecotourism. This non-regulatory approach will continue the tradition of DNREC’s commitment to preserving the state’s coastal zone, which has been protected by Delaware’s Coastal Zone Act for the past 40 years. Due in large part to the legacy of that landmark legislation, more than half of the Delaware Bayshore’s acreage remains undeveloped, and is today protected as state or federal wildlife lands.

Click here to see the full size Bayshore mapBy building on public-private partnerships and leveraging state, federal and private resources, the Bayshore Initiative targets three major areas for improvement:

  • Conservation and ecological restoration – Connect wildlife areas by acquisition or easement of unprotected lands; restore native habitat; and protect resources.  
  • Recreation and connectivity – Focus strategic investments to connect wildlife areas to urban centers; maximize enjoyment of the outdoors by providing safe, healthy recreational experiences; and enhance access to wild areas.
  • Engagement and marketing – Engage, educate and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards; partner with local communities and organizations to promote the area regionally, nationally and internationally; and promote local volunteerism.

In addition to economic benefits, the Delaware Bayshore Initiative stands to improve quality of life through enhanced outdoor recreational opportunities; to provide students with outdoor living classroom educational options; and to help prepare Delaware for future climate changes and impacts. It was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior as one of the country’s most promising ways to reconnect Americans to the natural world. 



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