DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs is developing an Ocean and Bay Plan to protect Delaware’s marine resources, ecological functions and ocean and bay uses. Developing the plan will include public input and review by stakeholders, residents and the public at large.
The Delaware Ocean and Bay Plan will provide a comprehensive, easy to use resource for decision makers and stakeholders. It will help them better understand and manage resources and uses occurring off Delaware’s coast and in the Delaware Bay.
The Ocean and Bay Plan development process begins with external organization engagement and includes focused topical input, public listening sessions, drafting an outline, releasing a draft plan and gathering stakeholder and public input before releasing a final plan.
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Participants in the listening sessions identified topics of importance to help guide the planning process:
Learn more about the Public Interests and Priorities identified for the Ocean and Bay Plan.
The Planning Area includes Delaware’s jurisdictional waters in the Delaware River, Delaware Bay and Atlantic ocean. To better understand the interactions between uses and resources occurring offshore, this plan will consider activities that extends eastward of the Delaware Atlantic coast, past the continental shelf and slope.
The demand for space in the waters off Delaware’s coast is escalating faster than ever before. Existing uses, such as commercial shipping, and newly emerging uses, such as underwater transmission cables, are expanding.
As the marine resources off our coast are forced to adapt to changing sea levels, warming waters and acidification, it’s important to ensure balance between the uses of ocean and bay and conservation of marine resources.
The preliminary goals of the Ocean and Bay planning process include:
Using the plan to better understand and manage resources and uses occurring off Delaware’s coast and in the Delaware Bay.
Protecting marine resources, ecological functions, and ocean/bay uses that provide long-term economic and social benefits for all Delawareans while recognizing and considering how current and emerging uses may impact the state.
Inspiring pride and stewardship in Delaware’s ocean and bay through education and knowledge-sharing.
Highlighting the ways the public can get involved in acting as stewards of the ocean and bay.
The plan will serve as a reference document for existing and potential new ocean and bay users.
It will identify and characterize ocean and bay uses and serve as an inventory of ocean and bay resources.
The plan will describe the impacts of each water-dependent human activity on other uses and identified resources.
It will provide recommendations for best practices for balancing ocean and bay activities with the conservation of marine resources through spatial planning.
The plan will explore how climate change has impacted and will continue to impact ocean and bay resources and uses.
It will identify gaps and needs to support ocean and bay resource management.