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Markell announces Delaware Bayshore Milestones

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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Event highlights land preservation, Bayshore Byway, outdoor recreation amenities and new branding design

With autumn foliage at its peak and the scenic Thousand Acre Marsh in the background, Gov. Jack Markell announced important Delaware Bayshore milestones that enhance the state's natural resources for world-class conservation and boost the economy through recreational activities. The governor was joined by Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary David Small, Delaware Economic Development Office Secretary Bernice Whaley, conservation, transportation and tourism partners, and Bayshore community leaders and residents to highlight key accomplishments of the Delaware Bayshore Initiative.

The Delaware Bayshore Initiative enhances and promotes the region as a world-class conservation and low-impact recreation area, strengthens historic local communities and improves the quality of life for all Delawareans. The initiative received national recognition from the U.S. Department of the Interior as one of the country's most promising ways to reconnect Americans to the natural world.

"The Delaware Bayshore Initiative builds on our reputation as a state of unique and beautiful natural resources, while also strengthening our economy by encouraging Delawareans and visitors to enjoy the area through activities like birding, fishing, and boating," said Markell. "That's why we're excited to announce these efforts to preserve important wetlands, increase public access to one of our state's most beautiful landscapes, and enhance the Bayshore as a valuable tourism destination. These milestones help ensure we and future generations will fully enjoy all of the benefits the Bayshore offers."

The Delaware Bayshore, extending along the Delaware River and Bay from New Castle to Lewes, is widely recognized as an area of global ecological significance. Its expansive coastal marshes, sandy shoreline, forests, fields, and agricultural lands provide habitat for more than 400 species of birds and other wildlife. The Nature Conservancy has called the Delaware Bayshore "one of the earth's most important stopovers for migratory birds." Nearly 120,000 acres of Bayshore lands are already protected as national wildlife refuges, state wildlife areas, state parks, national es-tuarine research reserves, private conservation areas, agricultural preserves and cultural heritage sites throughout the area.

"The Delaware Bayshore Initiative is building upon decades of significant conservation investment in preserving wetlands, forests, agricultural lands and open space," said Small. "I want to thank our federal partners, Bayshore communities and the many conservation partners working collaboratively. By preserving and enhancing our precious Bayshore lands, we are encouraging Delawareans and visitors to enjoy these natural treasures, and protecting the Delaware Bayshore and its wild and scenic landscape for future generations."

"The scenic Delaware Bay-shore, which includes coastal marshes, farms and forests, is not only a great recreational amenity for the state, but a crucial habitat for diverse species," said Sen. Tom Carper. "I am proud of ongoing local, state and federal partnerships like the Delaware Bayshore Initiative that help to protect these lands for generations to come, while encouraging Delawareans and visitors to the First State to get outside and enjoy these beautiful natural treasures."

"I am proud of the hard work that a number of state and federal agencies have done over the past few years to pool resources, leverage grant funding, and strategically acquire valuable property on Delaware's coast," said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons. "Delaware's Bayshore Initiative recognizes that protecting our beautiful wetlands is important from an environmental point of view, but it also makes sense to preserve treasures like the Thousand Acre Marsh that attracts birders and naturalists from all over the world who want to enjoy the view. I am glad that federal programs like the National

Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program were used in conjunction with state and private funds to make this possible."

"Delaware is blessed with a beautiful coastline and natural habitat that draws residents and visitors from across the region. We have to preserve it for future generations to enjoy," said U.S. Congressman John Carney. "These milestones reflect tremendous conservation efforts that have gone into protecting our precious natural resources. I'm excited for more people to discover the Delaware Bayshore and the beauty that's right in our backyard."

A Byway extension which will continue south from St. Jones Neck east of Dover to the City of Lewes has been proposed. At this time, the towns of Bowers Beach and Slaughter Beach, and the community of Broadkill Beach have officially voted to be part of the Byway extension. Outreach with other Bayshore communities is currently underway.

A new branding design was unveiled that enhances the Delaware Bayshore as an ecotourism destination. It creates an identity for the entire Bayshore, with communication materials that reflect natural and historical areas, the Byway and the communities. The brand sets the Bayshore apart as a distinctive and memorable travel destination and increases the likelihood of Delawareans and out-of-state residents visiting the area.

The brand designs include a branding statement, logos, slogan, signage and advertisements that can be used by the partners to market and promote the Bay-shore in a coordinated way.

For more information contact Karen Bennett, Delaware Bayshore coordinator, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife at 302-739-9124,

Copyright 2015 Cape Gazette, Lewes, Delaware. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: November 10, 2015

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