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Delaware Bay – Valuable, Threatened, & Poorly Managed

There is a good story today in NJ Spotlight:

 The Delaware Estuary: By The Numbers

A recent report puts a value on the Delaware Estuary — using a wide variety of measures

But we need to balance the economic focus and to remind folks about the ecological values, nature of the threats, and lack of effective management.

If threats are not more effectively managed, the Delaware Bay faces a similar fate as the impaired Barnegat Bay.

So, I strongly recommend that folks read and act upon the recent report “Protecting the Delaware Bay” by the Coastal Ocean Coalition.

The Report found that the State of NJ was doing a very poor job managing this valuable resource. The Report laid out specific actions to improve management – most importantly by incorporating ecosystem based management (EBM) in various regulatory and planning programs.

Instead, the Christie Administration recommended that the Coastal and Ocean Protection Council be abolished and has defunded and derailed EBM work within DEP.

That Council was created by the legislature to craft science based EBM policy recommendations to DEP.

Here’s an excerpt and link to the Report:

THE PROBLEMS: Despite their undisputed importance both ecologically and economically, and because of their varied and competing uses, the Bay, the Estuary and their surrounding environment are in trouble. Perpetual increases in population growth, development and water usage combined with disjointed land use decisions and poor resource management have lead to decreased water quality, losses of forests and wetlands, drinking water shortages, threats to plant and animal species, flooding and the introduction of destructive invasive species to the area.

THE SOLUTIONS: The members of the Coastal Ocean Coalition and other signatories to this paper believe that, by utilizing an ecosystem management approach – an approach that takes into account the impacts our actions have on this unique ecosystem as a whole rather than on a site-by- site basis – this trend can be reversed. This paper recognizes the ecological significance of the Delaware Bay and Estuary, provides an overview of the state and federal statutes that mandate the protection of this resource, and engages in a comprehensive review of the programs put in place by the states of New Jersey and Delaware to carry out these mandates. Most important, this paper identifies specific opportunities for the implementation of ecosystem based management techniques to serve as a blueprint for the state and federal agencies and environmental leaders to develop a comprehensive strategy to ensure the protection of one of our most valuable natural, recreational and commercial resources.”

Link to full report:

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