The Inland Bays Estuary of Delaware, a Fragile Beauty

The Inland Bays of Delaware: Rehoboth, Indian River and Little Assawoman are shallow, slow draining bodies of water bounded on the east by beach areas with resultant fast growing urban development. They are bounded on the west by slow draining tributaries which are challenged by both development and agriculture. The ecology of the estuary is rapidly changing to one that is more urban.

The estuary is home to many residents and vacationers who enjoy the many opportunities for retirement, raising their families and enjoying the recreational opportunities. The University of Delaware estimates the Estuary contributes around $2B to Delaware’s economy annually according to the Center for the Inland Bays 2012 Annual Report.

Many enjoy the opportunities to fish, crab, water and Jet Ski, swim and other water based activities. Recent documentation indicates more fishing trips occur in the Inland Bays than do in the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. Recent additions of new golf courses: Salt Ponds, Bay wood Greens, Plantation Lakes, Bear Trap, Rehoboth Country Club, and the Peninsula attract residents and vacationers alike. Many seek retirement and second homes here to take advantage of these opportunities.

The waters of our Bays attract birding enthusiasts for we are on the Atlantic flyway and experience a wide variety of bird life in marshes, wetlands and sanctuaries. Fishermen have formed rod and reel clubs, as well as fly fishing clubs to take advantage of these opportunities. Crabbing and clamming is a popular sport for many in the area.

Unfortunately our Estuary is being challenged by high levels of pollution which have destroyed the eel grass beds and oyster and scallop beds which were so prevalent here at one time. To tell you more about these challenges the Foundation Science Coordinator has prepared the following over view for your reading: Learn more…