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Shellfish Restoration Project To Improve Delaware Water Quality

Release Date: 9/6/2002
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays has been awarded $11,000 for a shellfish restoration project. The project will study how effective restoring bivalve shellfish populations in Delaware’s Inland Bays is for improving and maintaining water quality.

The Center will team up with the Sussex County Council; the University of Delaware’s Graduate College of Marine Studies; the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; Cape Henlopen High School; and Sussex Technical High School. Citizen volunteers will be trained to culture American oysters, which will be introduced to a man-made reef in the waters of Indian River Bay adjacent to the James Farm Ecological Preserve.
“This project combines citizen participation and sound science using shellfish to naturally improve water quality,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA’s mid-Atlantic regional administrator.

The award is part of the Five-Star Restoration Grant Program, which provides community-based partnerships grants from $5,400 - $20,000 to support wetlands and stream side restoration projects. Primary funding is provided by the Wetlands Division in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries’ Community-based Restoration Program. Additional funding is provided by EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, EPA Region III and Lockheed Martin Corporation.
Five-Star Restoration Projects involve a high degree of cooperation between participants from local government, corporations and businesses, schools and youth groups, environmental and citizen organizations, and federal and state government agencies. Partners collaborate to improve water quality and restore important fish and wildlife habitats. The projects funded were selected from a competitive pool of nearly 200 applicants. Funding is based on the program’s educational and training opportunities for students and at-risk youth, the ecological benefits, and other cultural and economic benefits to the community.