Citizens group reaching out on Inland Bays

The Citizens Advisory Committee of the Center for the Inland Bays met on Wednesday to discuss their outreach projects and to honor state Sen. George Bunting (D-20th) and Rep. Gerald Hocker (R-38th) for their assistance with House Concurrent Resolution 7, concerning once-through cooling technology for power plants.

Doug Parham, the CAC’s Outreach Committee chair, showed the group a presentation titled “Our Inland Bays.” The CAC plans on using the presentation, plus added training, to help equip a volunteer speakers’ bureau to get their message out to a broader audience.

“It’s not intended for small children or tourists,” joked Purham, saying that the presentation is intended for stakeholders, taxpayers, like-minded conservation groups, and people who live and work in the Inland Bays watershed. The presentation will also have a “call to action,” to let people know how they can get involved with the Center and, specifically, with the CAC.

The group critiqued the presentation and edited it slide by slide, to make sure it represented the group and what they wish to accomplish, and a final version will be used for community outreach projects.

The Citizens Advisory Committee for the Center for the Inland Bays currently has 24 members, with two subcommittees – one on public policy and one for outreach. Their recent accomplishments include pushing the state to adopt the Pollution Control Strategy, recommending updates to the Sussex County comprehensive plan and urging DNREC and NRG to expedite clean-up projects at the power plant in Millsboro, which sits in the center of the watershed.

The Inland Bays, made up of the Indian River Bay, the Rehoboth Bay and Little Assawoman Bay, were designated an estuary of national significance in 1988. They cover 32 square miles and drain a watershed area of about 320 square miles in southeastern Sussex County. According to the Center, because they are fairly shallow and poorly flushed by tidal movement, they are especially susceptible to changes in the environment.

In the Center for the Inland Bays Web site’s introduction to the Citizen Advisory Committee, CAC Chair Ron Wuslich states, “A healthy environment is critical to our quality of life in the Inland Bays watershed, so that it continues to be a desirable and healthy place to live and vacation.”

Wuslich is encouraging people to call state senators and representatives and county council members, to tell them that making the bays fishable and swimmable again should be a top priority for the health of the area’s tourism industry, as well as the health and welfare of the people who live and work in the area, and the future of the economy and the environment.

“I believe that if other citizens become aware of the facts, that citizens in Sussex County will demand better public policy to protect water quality in the Inland Bays, because this is not just an environmental issue, it is an economic issue and a public health issue as well,” Wuslich said.

The current CAC has members representing many different stakeholders in the watershed, including retired scientists, former legislators, teachers, farmers, fishermen and environmental advocates.

To be eligible to become a voting member of the CAC, members must be a resident stakeholder in the Inland Bays watershed, regularly attend meetings and serve on either the public policy or outreach committees. Interested parties can call the CIB at (302) 226-8105 or complete and return the CAC application available on the Web site at