The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $506,984 grant to the Center for the Inland Bays in Lewes, Del. to reduce and prevent water pollution in the inland bay estuary, which includes Rehoboth, Indian River and Little Assawoman bays. The EPA grant was matched with $505,000 grant from the state.
"EPA is pleased to be a partner in the Center for the Inland Bays’ aggressive approach to cleaning up areas of the estuary that have been impaired by stormwater related runoff. The projects supported by this funding are vital to protect and improve water quality and to preserve the natural habitat," said Donald S. Welsh, administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.
Funding for the center will focus on reducing stormwater pollution – sometimes called non-point source pollution – which deposits large amounts of nutrients and sediments into the bays. The main source of nutrients to these waters is from agriculture and failing septic systems throughout the Inland Bays watershed. Research projects in the watershed focus on renewing dwindling resources and establishing best management practices to reduce the amount of pollutants entering the bays.
The Center for the Inland Bays is funding 10 research projects this year, including projects to study the exact causes of algae blooms and how they can be prevented. Other projects monitor the viability of the bays to reestablish and maintain fisheries such as shellfish.
Recognizing that research will not solve all problems affecting the inland bays, the center also funds educational efforts to help restore the estuaries. For example, the clean marina program will receive funds to teach marina owners and users how to reduce their environmental impacts on the bays.