Topic: Ocean and Coasts

Nearly 40% of the US population lives in a coastal county. In Delaware, everyone lives in a coastal county and many of us find ourselves on or near the shore on a daily basis.

Most of the information and services provided by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) have a coastal component. DNREC is part of the Delaware Bayshore Initiative, a collaborative effort to increase conservation of and restoration of coastal resources, help connect people to the coast through recreation and education, and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards.

DNREC is involved in efforts to manage ocean and coastal resources and coastal land uses that may affect those resources. DNREC works to enable communities to prepare for, manage and mitigate coastal flooding. The agency offers opportunities for coastal recreation and for folks to get involved and work with coastal resources.

Featured Links

Explore the Coast

Map of Delaware Bayshore Conservation Land

DNREC provides ample opportunities to experience Delaware’s coastal resources, through the Divisions of Parks and Recreation and Fish and Wildlife and through the the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR).

Spend time at one of the coastal state parks: Fort Delaware State Park, Fort DuPont State Park, Fox Point State ParkCape Henlopen State Park, Delaware Seashore State Park, Fenwick Island State Park, and Holts Landing State Park

Follow the Bayshore Byway to learn how Delaware’s history is intricately tied to the Delaware River and Bay

Visit the St. Jones Reserve and the Blackbird Creek Reserve (find free outdoor programs on the DNERR outreach site)

Stop by the DuPont Nature Center, at the Mispillion Harbor Reserve, or the Aquatic Resources Education Center, at Woodland Beach Wildlife Area

Learn about Boat Registration and Boating Safety in Delaware

The Role of Beaches and Dunes

Delaware’s beach and dune systems are a vital part of our coasts. They protect our homes and infrastructure. They are important habitat areas. And they provide a key part of our tourism economy. They are also constantly changing and subject to forces both natural and human-created. DNREC works to strike a balance among these factors in managing Delaware’s beaches and dunes.

Learn how you can help protect beaches and dunes

Discover Delaware’s Coastal Dunes, including information on constructive and destructive forces, and native dune plants and animals

Review the state’s rules on construction along Delaware’s coastline

Read the executive summary, or the full report, of the Management Plan for the Delaware Bay Beaches

Coastal Management and Protection

DNREC oversees several programs to manage coastal resources, and it works with county and municipal governments to use land use planning to help protect the coasts.

Delaware Bayshore Forever Video

An 11-minute video, funded by DNREC and produced for the Delaware Bayshore Forever Partnership by 302 Stories, Inc. It is available on the DNREC YouTube channel.

See how the Delaware Bayshore Initiative is building a collaborative approach to preserving, managing and enhancing public access to the shores of the Delaware River and Bay

Learn about Delaware’s role in the regional effort to preserve the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Get updated on work to achieve the Inland Bays Pollution Control Strategy

Track land use change reviews under the Delaware Coastal Zone Act

Learn how the state’s Coastal Zone Management Federal Consistency program helps guide federal actions throughout the state

See how DNREC works to maintain and improve Delaware’s navigable waterways

Find out how living shorelines have ability to protect shorelines naturally

Get Involved, Dive In

There are many volunteer opportunities available up and down Delaware’s coast, from festivals and hands-on volunteer activities to hikes and canoe trips.

Take part in the Delaware Bay Horseshoe Crab Spawning Survey

Help maintain Delaware’s wildlife areas

Plant some beach grass to help our dunes

Join the Delaware Coastal Cleanup and/or adopt a beach

Learn about volunteer opportunities with the Delaware Shorebird Project and the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve

Volunteer with the Aquatic Resources Education Center

Education and Outreach at the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve


Related News

Learn More

Important Phone Numbers

For information on coastal resources and processes, contact the Delaware Coastal Management Program: 302-739-9283

For information about Delaware’s estuaries, contact the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve: 302-739-6377

For information about Delaware’s state parks, contact the Division of Parks and Recreation: 302-739-9200

For information about Delaware’s beach and dune management program, contact the Shoreline and Waterway Management Section: 302-739-9921

For information about climate issues and sea level rise, contact the Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy: 302-735-3480

For information about about boating and fishing in Delaware, contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife: 302-739-9910

For information about aquatic resources education, contact the Aquatic Resources Education Center: 302-735-8652

Public Meetings

Meetings of the Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy

Meetings of the Division of Fish and Wildlife

Meetings of the Division of Watershed Stewardship

Meetings of the Division of Parks and Recreation


Regulations Governing Delaware’s Coastal Zone (7 DE Admin. Code 101)

Delaware Coastal Management Program Federal Consistency Policies and Procedures (7 DE Admin. Code 5104)

Regulation Governing Beach Protection and the Use of Beaches (7 DE Admin. Code 5102)

Watershed Assessment Section (7 DE Admin. Code 7400)

Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands (7 DE Admin. Code 7500)

Tidal Finfish (7 DE Admin Code 3500)

Shellfish (7 DE Admin Code 3700)

Shellfish Aquaculture (7 DE Admin Code 3801)

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