Reader: We must protect that around us
The first rule of wildlife conservation is you cannot save species if you do not save habitat. For those of us who are conservative, we should regard that ethos and preserve our natural world for future generations, along with the health and well-being of all species that share this planet. If not, then that makes you a radical, someone disregarding the intrinsic value of biodiversity, which is directly and importantly the foundation of humanity on many fundamental levels.
The radical decision of DNREC to desecrate the Hen & Chicken Shoals, with the approval of the Rehoboth ocean outfall, is counterintuitive to the fundamental core of their mission. This is no surprise to the residents of Delaware, who suffer unjustly at the hands of a tyrannical state regulatory agency, time and time again. Nearly every recent record of a DNREC decision is under appeal, lawsuit or public complaint.
For a state agency to have a seasonal batting average of .000 each year, the citizenry is horrified. From half-hatched plans of Inland Bays oyster aquaculture to fish impingement at the Delaware City refinery and back to the Allen Harim chicken plant in Millsboro, public mistrust of DNREC should be of grave concern to the Markell administration.
Disingenuous state programs will now include the Delaware Wildlife Plan, under the direction of Fish & Wildlife. Its mission statement is a comprehensive strategy for conserving all native wildlife species and habitats — common and uncommon — as vital components of the state’s natural resources. While the plan itself is intended for all who are actively engaged in conservation efforts, the implementation of the plan will be coordinated by the Division of Fish & Wildlife.
Working together with conservation partners, the division’s goal is to keep Delaware’s common species common, and to prevent species from being listed as endangered. Well, the critical failure in this specific issue makes a fundamental case for federal agencies funding these programs to question the veracity of the program. Financially supported by taxpayer dollars, the Delaware Wildlife Plan is a falsified and egregious public-relations spin, when held to the litmus test of an ocean outfall approval in 2015.
As I scroll though the 357 pages of documents on this record of decision, and the supporting statements by Secretary Small, I’m reminded of another fictional piece of writing, “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy. While not of equal heft, both publications function best as a doorstop.
So many well-informed citizens and conservation groups objected vociferously to this project. To each and every one, I’m grateful. I would especially like to thank the Surfrider Foundation, MERR Institute, Sierra Club, Audubon and the Delaware River Keepers for their constructive comments and advocacy for clean water and healthy habitat for species.
When DE Administrative Codes and Coastal Zone Management laws are disregarded as regulatory impediments, and not guidelines for findings of fact, then the review process fails. Such systemic corruption in approving this ocean outfall reflects poorly on everyone who supports this choice.
In the next few weeks, the state government in Dover will be rocked by a myriad of legal ramifications concerning this issue. If not, then our elected officials have failed in their sworn duty to the constitution of the State of Delaware, the laws and regulations, which are designed to protect our health, community standards and the natural world for all species.
West Fenwick Island