Outreach - Marine Advisory Service - Sustainable Communities
Ed Lewandowski, Coastal Communities Development Specialist
The economic growth of our nation's coastal regions imposes land use changes and competing demands for the use of shoreline which, historically, have resulted in degradation of coastal quality. Without sound planning, it is likely that coastal degradation associated with urbanization will continue, as coastal areas will be among the fastest growing in the nation. More than 139 million people (53 percent of the U.S. population) live in coastal counties. By 2025, it is estimated it will reach 165 million people.
The state of Delaware is also undergoing a period of unprecedented population growth and development, especially along its coastal zone and associated watersheds. Population growth in the already saturated coastal area grew by more than 50 percent between 1990 and 2000. Certain areas along the coastal fringe more than doubled their population since the 1990 census estimates.
The Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service's (MAS) involvement and commitment to coastal community development is long standing. The program has directed much attention and resources to coastal recreation and tourism issues, watershed management, and coastal ecosystems' health concerns over the years. Most recently, the program has begun developing educational programs on sustainable development, open space protection, and coastal resiliency planning. To address the needs of coastal communities the MAS has identified the following broad objectives:
- Work with communities to help them make wiser land-use planning decisions, focus on their community economic needs, and improve their overall quality of life.
- Organize educational seminars and forums to discuss vital issues affecting coastal communities.
- Provide education and outreach support to state programs focused on community development and coastal resiliency.
- Develop educational materials which address important sustainable development issues affecting Delaware coastal communities.
- Keep abreast of land-use issues affecting local communities in the watersheds of Sussex County and provide feedback to the general public, community leaders, and elected officials.
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