Save Our Assawoman

Coalition for Little Assawoman Bay

Not in anyone's backyard

There’s nothing wrong with standing up for our own communities, and standing with our fellow citizens who want to preserve their quality of life. Not everything about modernity is worth embracing. We have the right to protect and defend the things we care about. Indeed, it’s defeatist not to.

Most supposedly NIMBY arguments are not NIMBYist at all – they are NIABYist: not in anyone’s backyard. They are about preserving beauty, safety and integrity of communities. Naomi Oreskes, Washington Post

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Step back ... and work with all stakeholders

How aquaculture operations will actually be carried out in the Inland Bays is still evolving, and its impacts are unknown. I urge you to proceed slowly with implementation of the aquaculture program so that the impacts of farming operations on the unique Inland Bays ecosystem can be studied—beginning with Rehoboth Bay—before extending leases throughout the bays....

I know how tempting it is to “check the boxes” and press forward steadfastly when the goal is in sight.  I ask that you step back from these short-term temptations and continue to work with all stakeholders to develop an implementation program that minimizes the adverse effects on impacted communities and provides benefits for years to come. Robert Batky



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Twenty-foot navigation corridors are too narrow

Twenty-foot navigation corridors are too narrow to offer safe and efficient recreational passage and may invite problems.

It will be safer for the boating public and the gear on a lease for boaters to navigate around a lease site made up of multiple acres rather than to traverse a narrow corridor.

This is to say nothing about the spectra of a forest of PVC pipes that will be created by four pipes for each one-acre plots. Chris Bason, Executive Director, Center for the Inland Bays

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Regulatory overkill that will diminish aesthetics

To the best of  my knowledge no other state leasing program uses this approach.

Requiring that each piece of grow-out gear should be marked with a buoy is not necessary and will detract from aesthetic considerations.

Requiring that corners of each individual acre, regardless of being a multiacre lease or not, be marked with a 6-inch-diameter pipe 5 feet above the water line is regulatory overkill, will significantly diminish local aesthetic considerations and is virtually guaranteed to generate public opposition. John W. Ewart, Sea Grant Program, University of Delaware

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Owners should have been notified

… Their locations [show] only on the most easterly side of the bay. These locations unfairly impact the views and enjoyment of the bay to those residing on the barrier island. There are other uninhabited waterfront areas not limited to but including locations in front of Assawoman Wildlife Refuge for placement of the beds. Furthermore, consideration should have been given to sending a formal letter to property owners being impacted by this program. Before leases are granted for farming of oysters, I feel more public hearings (with direct notification to property owners prior to the hearing) should be held…. Ross Cropper, Summertime Park

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How many oysters will it take?

Considering ... the fact that each oyster filters approximately 50 gallons of water per day (Paddock, 2010), the oysters currently involved in the program filter about 2 million gallons of water per day in the Inland Bays. The Delaware Inland Bays has a surface area of 32 square miles, with an average depth of 4 feet (Martin et al., 1996). This makes for a total volume of 26.7 billion gallons. In order to filter the volume of water in the Inland Bays once daily, would take at least 533.83 million more oysters. There are currently about 40,000 oysters involved in the Delaware with the Restoration Project.

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"Sop-up" strategies don't work

Grow more oysters for the right reasons – they create habitat for other organisms and make great meals. Delusions about their role in improving water quality merely detract from the only action that will improve Bay water quality, significantly improving crop fertilization efficiency....

Nothing substantive has changed in the way crops are fertilized. Pollution always needs to be reduced at the source and “sop-up” strategies (oysters in this case) are never effective.

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Sustainable aquaculture, or not?

Just recently the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a decision by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior not to allow oyster farming in an estuary of California’s Point Reyes National Seashore - because it interfered with the park’s purpose as a serene wilderness reserve. That secretary has reached out to protect a precious waterway. Now we ask our own secretary of DNREC, and our legislators and other state officials, to do the same. We ask them to preserve our bays so that all Delawareans and all visitors can enjoy them undisturbed long into the future.

These bays are a national treasure that deserve our protection. We need to save them, but let’s not destroy our bays in order to save them.

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Residents voice feelings on aquaculture

A major public concern was the seeming lack of notification about the final regulations on aquaculture in the Inland Bays. For instance, residents said they wished DNREC had contacted homeowners’ associations directly.

“Did everybody get notified that this was happening? No. ... So we’ll apologize for that. We do what we can. It’s never enough, quite frankly. We tried to publicize very widely,” Small said. “We’re here to listen to your concerns this evening.”

“We’re here to listen, even though we’ve listened in the past,” clarified David Saveikis, F&W director.

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COALITION FOR LITTLE ASSAWOMAN BAY, FENWICK ISLAND, DE 19944   703-606-1344   302-249-5879

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