Delaware Center for the Inland Bays Publishes State of the Creek - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Center for the Inland Bays Publishes State of the Creek Report

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LEWES, Del. - Delaware Center for the Inland Bays has published its most recent State of the Creek report on Herring and Guinea Creek. The organization held a press conference and boat tour out of Camp Arrowhead on Monday morning. 

Herring and Guinea Creeks are two major sources of freshwater that flow directly into the Rehoboth Bay.  The Delaware Center For The Inland Bays' State of the Creek report shows the creeks are polluted with an average concentration of nitrogen and phosphorus 10-12 times higher than the healthier limit. This pollution is coming from the land. The organization acknowledges a 68% increase in development in the last ten years, concluding that there is more fertilization of lawns and more hard areas like roads and buildings for water to run off instead of filtering through the land. 

"When you have too many nutrients you have changes in oxygen levels where you have low oxygen that's bad for the crabs and the shellfish," Executive Director Chris Bason explains. "You also have previously clear waters that turn murky, so you eliminate the sunlight to the bottom of the creek and you don't have any important bay grass habitat." 

Bason says the report also finds indicators of concentrations of fecal material in the upper portion of Guinea Creek, meaning that its not usually safe for swimming.

The Monday boat tour takes neighbors like Ab Ream through these creeks that are so crucial to fish and wildlife, tourism, and the real estate here.  

"I do water quality monitoring off my dock," Bason says. "Dissolved oxygen raises and rises and lowers as the seasons go by." 

The Center says some of the ways that neighboring communities can help is by maintaining their septic systems properly, supporting the conversion of existing septic systems to sewers, enacting development requirements to protect clean water, building forest buffers, and by joining the citizens monitoring program which actually contributed data used in the report.

"We'd like to see the creek cleaned up," says Pat Robbins, who lives right on Guinea Creek.

A.G. Robbins helps gather data for the citizens monitoring program. "These upper creeks are nurseries for many many species of fish," he explains. "If somebody is fishing up in the bay, most of the fish they're catching were born up in these creeks and if these creeks aren't healthy then the fishery won't be healthy."

Members of the Center for the Inland Bays say another big piece toward cleaning up the creeks would be Delaware lawmakers passing the clean water bill.

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