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We Need to Talk about Plastic

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This past June, the CIB held its annual Inland Bays Clean-Up. Once again, it was a fantastic event. Over 60 people joined us to hop on boats, zip around the Bays, and explore their shores to pick up over HALF A TON of trash! The sun was bright, the temperature was perfect, and it was a beautiful day! What was ...
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Maintaining Oyster Gardens: A Day in the Life of a CIB Intern

/ Brady Stonesifer
It’s another warm July morning as Alex and I hop in the company truck to begin a long day of oyster gardening. Looking over our list, we see that we have just a few more houses left to visit. These are the final oyster pickups of the summer, after which we will begin redistributing spat to new and existing oyster ...
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Birding the James Farm: Check it off your list!

Birding the James Farm: Check it off your list!
/ Dr. Marianne Walch
On a cool, drizzly, late May morning, my colleague Katie Goerger and I set out from the parking area at the James Farm Ecological Preserve, binoculars in hand. Our mission – to complete an eBird checklist for the Farm. Marginal weather, combined with insufficient coffee, meant we got started on our walk a bit later than hoped, so we missed ...
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Reconnecting with the Natural World

/ Morgan Pitts
All education is environmental education. By what is included or excluded we teach students that they are a part of or apart from the natural world,” notes author and environmentalist David W. Orr in Earth in Mind. While modern distractions such as smartphones and tablets increasingly disconnect us from the world around us, the Center’s education program strives to reconnect ...
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Rising from the Ashes

Rising from the Ashes
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As many of you know, the James Farm Ecological Preserve experienced a small fire back in February. Thankfully, a visitor to the Farm called the Millville Fire Company who responded quickly, limiting the damage to a charred area down near the beach - an area less than one acre. Also thankfully, no injuries were reported and no structures were damaged.
So ...
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How did the Diamondback Terrapin Evolve?

/ Chris Bason
The turtles of Delaware are a pretty diverse group.  We have about 10 species of solely freshwater turtles and 4 species of sea turtles that spend almost their entire life in the ocean.  But there is only one species that spends its life in the great mixing zones of Delaware’s estuaries: the diamond back terrapin. This interesting fact is what recently ...
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COMING SOON: Ospreys to Return to the Inland Bays!

/ Dr. Dennis Bartow
Just as the swallows return annually to the Mission at Capistrano on St. Joseph’s Day, the osprey that inhabit our Inland Bays will begin returning to their nesting areas around St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th.
By the end of October last year the last stragglers began their 2,500 mile southern migration across Florida (some will overwinter there) to their overwintering areas ...
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The Secrets of Biochar

Biochar is created with same physical properties as  familiar charcoal. Photo credit: Ischaramoochie, via Wikimedia Commons
/ Bryanna Lisiewski

Two thousand years ago the Amazonians discovered the secrets of "Biochar" - a carbon-based substance that is created with same physical properties as charcoal. These secrets include increasing crop yields, soil moisture, reducing harmful runoff, sequestering carbon, and improving storm water control.The Amazonians have a lot to teach us about maintaining earth’s health.They figured out that adding biochar to their soils increased its fertility ...
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Preserving the Wild: The James Farm Master Plan (Phase 1 Update)

/ Bob Collins

Though many visitors to the James Farm Ecological Preserve may not realize this, this little slice of natural heaven is owned by Sussex County and managed and maintained by the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays.This project fit perfectly into our mission: “to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays, the water that flows into them, and the watershed around ...
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The Other Raptor

Who Am I
/ Chris Bason


What is the most iconic bird of the Inland Bays? Most of us would say the osprey or the bald eagle - the commanding predators of the water that have become symbols of the coast. But there is another raptor that I think completes this estuarine avian trifecta… It stands (or, rather, flies) apart from these famous fish eaters ...
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Bay-Friendly Dining: Delaware Restaurants That Give Back

sunet behind beach dune with fence
/ Sean Flanigan
It is no secret that there are a number of different advantages that come along with living near the Delaware Beaches. The proximity to both the Inland Bays and local beaches with everything that they have to offer should be enough to make anyone want to live here, but another huge benefit that people get from living in or visiting ...
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Talking Shop in the Big Easy

/ Bob Collins
As Program Manager for the CIB, I was fortunate enough to attend the “Restore America’s Estuaries” conference this year, a trip that took my colleagues and I to the Big Easy - New Orleans!This annual pow-wow provides a wonderful opportunity for coastal restoration scientists and practitioners to network, share techniques, and swap stories. Because one of the projects I manage ...
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Once They’re Gone, They’re Gone: Protecting Natural Spaces

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/ Dr. Marianne Walch

Over Thanksgiving, I helped the Virginia Eastern Shore (VES) Land Trust plant 150 native pine and oak trees on my parents’ farm in Onancock, Virginia (located on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay). Our goal was to increase the width of a forested buffer along Pungoteague Creek – a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. The buffer will protect the ...
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Following the Tracks – MOMS Club at the James Farm!

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/ Brittany Burslem
Recently my work life and social life converged in the form of a MOMS club of southern Delaware field trip to the James Farm Ecological Preserve. Karen Knight, a 9-year teacher with the CIB's James Farm Middle School Education Program led me, my 1-year old son, Jack, 9 of his preschool friends and their moms on a scavenger hunt.We followed the red trail ...
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Making Waves in the Inland Bays

/ Chris Bason
It’s a coastal Delaware pastime to sit back, relax, and watch the waters of the ocean and bays as they rise and fall. Our Inland Bays are tidal, after all! But how many of us really know what causes this ebb and flow?

The tide, defined as the vertical rise and fall of the water, is created by a combination ...
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Boots In the Water: My First Seining Experience

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/ Steve Maternick
Recently, Bayside Fenwick Island held it’s second annual ‘Links to the Bay 5k’, an excellent 5k event benefitting us here at the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays.As the new Development Coordinator for the CIB, I was originally going to assist other coworkers and volunteers with a living shoreline display… Then, one week before the event, I was asked to ...
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Taking Stock: Why Our Volunteers Count Fish!

Pulling the seine net at Sassafrass Landing - Photo courtesy of Dennis Bartow
/ Andrew McGowan

The CIB’s Inshore Fish Seining Program is just preparing to wrap up for the season. An almost entirely volunteer-based effort, this project gathers data on the fish species found in the shallow shore-zone areas of the Inland Bays. Every year from April to October, these volunteers hop into the waist-deep bay waters and drag a seine net along the bottom, ...
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3 Facts You Didn’t Know About Delaware’s Inland Bays

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1 - Blowing Open an InletWhat makes the Rehoboth, Indian River and Little Assawoman Bays considered Inland Bays? The long strip of barrier beach and the Indian River Inlet make all the difference. This is where the freshwater rivers and streams of Sussex County mix with the salty Atlantic.You likely recognize the Indian River Inlet by its iconic bridge, lit ...
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3 Unexpected Fish Species Found in the Inland Bays

False silverstripe halfbeak
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  Mummichogs, horseshoe crabs, and shrimp galore! Seining in the Inland Bays can turn up a number of common species that call our estuary home. But what about the surprise species - the one's you don't always expect? Let's take a look at some of the more interesting fish scooped up by our Inshore Fish Survey teams this summer! Found: Holts Landing State ...
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Plastic, Plastic, Everywhere!

/ Chris Bason

With all eyes on Rio during these summer Olympics, it’s difficult to ignore the shocking images of debris clogging the city’s bay. While our own bays may not be overwhelmed with trash, that doesn't mean that it’s not there. Marine debris, particularly of the plastic variety, is a problem in the Inland Bays.This past June, I joined a crew ...
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Wait, Don’t Eat that Crab!

/ Emily Seldomridge
While I was out enjoying a beautiful Saturday at the Delaware Seashore State Park beach (…well snoozing in my chair…) , I was abruptly awoken to the vision of a small crab, its legs being dangled in front of my face. Then came the excited question: “Can I eat it?!”No, no you can’t. Unlike blue crabs, I don’t recommend eating the ...
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Widgeon Grass in the South Bethany Canals

/ Chris Bason
Recently, a friend and I took a morning paddle from his house located in South Bethany out to the Little Assawoman Bay. We’ve been doing this together since we were kids and these trips were my first introduction to Delaware's Inland Bays. Today, these trips are a way keep an eye on how they are changing.As soon as we hopped in my ...
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