WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tom Carper, Chris Coons and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.) today announced the award of $1,800,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to accelerate the Delaware’s Inland Bays Program’s efforts to preserve and improve the health of inland bays. The funding will support projects that address climate resilience, prioritize equity, and manage other key water quality and habitat challenges.
“The Inland Bays Program has been a vital tool in our efforts to preserve and maintain Delaware’s natural beauty and tourism economy,” said Senator Carper, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Thanks to our historic investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA is providing Delaware with critical funding that will bolster the Inland Bays Programs’ ability to make our estuaries more resilient and accessible to all. I am pleased that this funding will also enhance the Program’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Environmental Justice, and Accessibility initiative.”
“As Delaware’s waterways go, so goes the health of First Staters from Wilmington to Seaford,” said Senator Coons. “I helped negotiate the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in part to help protect precious resources like our waterways, and I’m glad to see we’re delivering on our promise with funds like these. I’d like to thank the EPA for helping strengthen Delaware’s resiliency while maintaining the beauty of our inland bays.”
“Delaware’s inland bays are essential to strengthening our state’s robust tourism sector and maintaining our diverse ecosystems that thousands of species call home,” said Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, member of the Regional Leadership Council, a group of lawmakers appointed to lead the implementation and communication of historic legislation passed in the 117th Congress. “I’m thrilled that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will bring nearly $2 million to Delaware to support our estuaries by investing in climate resiliency, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Environmental Justice, and Accessibility (DEIJA) initiative, and water and habitat quality. This announcement is a reminder of the historic progress we’re making under President Biden’s leadership – from fighting the climate crisis with equity at the center to ensuring that the American economy is reaching its full potential.”
"As the lowest-lying part of the lowest-lying state in the Nation, Delaware's Inland Bays offer the perfect opportunity to shore up our coastal resilience for the benefit of critical natural habitats, vulnerable communities and our crucial tourism economy,” said Christophe Tulou, Executive Director of the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays. “Thanks to the leadership of our Delaware congressional delegation and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds they have secured, the Center for the Inland Bays and its partners are much better prepared to meet this challenge."
The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays (the Center) is a National Estuary Program focused on promoting the wise use and enhancement of the Inland Bays watershed. The Center helps oversee and implement the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). The CCMP outlines goals and activities that the Center and its partners agree to address based on scientific data and input from key stakeholders and the community. The Center uses the CCMP to direct and carry out activities that protect and enhance the Inland Bays.
The $1.8 million provided through this EPA grant represents the first two years of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding provided to the Center. In addition to implementing the CCMP, these resources will allow the Center and its partners to better address the needs of disadvantaged communities in the watershed as well as the impacts of climate change on this critical coastal resource.