Delaware's Inland Bays consist of three interconnected bodies of water in southeastern Sussex County -- Rehoboth Bay, Indian River Bay, and Little Assawoman Bay -- and the surrounding wetlands. This unique ecosystem provides essential habitat for a diverse community of plants and animals, while also supporting a large percentage of the coastal tourism industry in Delaware.
On Thursday, September 15, at 7:00 p.m., at the University of Delaware's College of Marine Studies in Lewes, Edward Lewandowski, executive director of the Center for the Inland Bays, will give a presentation on "Delaware's Inland Bays: An Estuary of National Significance." His talk will conclude this year's Ocean Currents Lecture Series, which has been held monthly since April at the Lewes campus.
Lewandowski will begin his talk by describing the Delaware Inland Bays estuary, which comprises approximately 32 square miles of surface water in a more than 300 square-mile drainage basin, and problems that currently threaten the estuary's health. In particular, he will focus on the key issues of habitat loss and nutrient over-enrichment.
Excessive amounts of nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, discharged into the waters of the Inland Bays from upland sources can trigger what is known as an algal bloom -- a situation that occurs when an algal species grows so fast it can deplete the water of oxygen. These species thrive in stressed estuaries like the Inland Bays, making the issue of nutrient over-enrichment one of increasing concern.
In 1994, a major step in protecting Delaware's Inland Bays was taken with the creation of the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays. The center promotes the wise use and enhancement of the Inland Bays and their watersheds by sponsoring and supporting educational programs, restoration efforts, and applied research, among many other activities.
"Volunteers are extremely important to the efforts of the Center for the Inland Bays," says Lewandowski. "The center offers a large variety of volunteer opportunities for people of all ages ranging from maintaining property at the James Farm Ecological Preserve, to serving as a host for school programs, to participating in special events such as the University of Delaware's Coast Day."
Prior to becoming executive director in 2004, Lewandowski spent six years serving the organization as its education and outreach coordinator. From 1995 to 1998, he was a park interpreter at Trap Pond State Park near Laurel, Delaware. In addition, he serves on the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission, the Delaware Sea Grant Advisory Council, and the Delaware Water Resource Center Advisory Panel.
Lewandowski earned a bachelor's degree in marine science from Southampton College in Long Island, New York. He currently resides in Bridgeville, Delaware, with his wife, Jill, and two daughters. He spent many summers on Delaware's Inland Bays as a youth, which cultivated his interest in marine science.
The lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. in Room 104, Cannon Laboratory, at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus, 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes. The hour-long talk will be followed by light refreshments.
While the lecture is free and open to the public, seating is limited and reservations are required. To reserve your seat, please contact the college at (302) 645-4279.