Carper Tours Natural Barriers Protecting Communities from Coastal Erosion.jpg

Marianne Welch of the Center for the Inland Bays, right, gives U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, left, a tour of the CIB's recent living shoreline project.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is inviting the public to learn about volunteer-driven fish research, coastal resiliency and local environmental monitoring efforts at an upcoming virtual Scientific & Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) meeting from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, Jan. 15.

STAC meetings are an opportunity for residents to learn about local environmental issues and ask questions about the latest research in the Inland Bays. The committee is designed to provide objective, science-driven advice and guidance to the Center’s Board of Directors and other cooperating agencies with interests in the Inland Bays.

Christian Schwarz, an assistant professor at the University of Delaware’s School of Marine Science & Policy, will share results from recent projects that examined how small organisms, such as plants or worms, can impact ecosystems and how they respond to climate change. He’ll also discuss how manmade and natural processes impact coastal wetlands loss.

Andrew McGowan, the CIB’s environmental scientist, will present findings from a long-term shorezone fish study that sheds light on the population dynamics for four under-studied forage fish species. Forage fish are smaller fish that play an important role as food sources for larger species such as bluefish or striped bass. The four species that will be discussed are Atlantic silverside, mummichog, sheepshead minnow and striped killifish.

“Nine years of dedicated efforts by local citizen scientists has helped shed light on the population changes of several forage fish species — changes that may impact the entire Inland Bays marine ecosystem,” Andrew said. “Hundreds of volunteers have contributed to this project, and it is gratifying to see their hard work translate into meaningful science for the Inland Bays and for the Mid-Atlantic region as a whole.”

In addition, Marianne Walch, the CIB’s Science & Restoration coordinator, will provide updates on the CIB’s Environmental Monitoring Plan and a review of indicators related to short- and long-term environmental trends in the Inland Bays.

The public is being encouraged to attend the Zoom meeting at https://udel.zoom.us/j/96604761476 and enter the passcode “science.” To join by phone, dial (646) 876-9923 and enter the meeting ID “966 0476 1476.”

A draft agenda, as well as additional information about the committee and past meetings, can be found on the CIB’s website at inlandbays.org/stac.