Lively towns and a wealth of recreational opportunities make coastal Delaware a popular place to visit, work, and retire. Delaware Sea Grant is supporting research that provides local communities with information to help them enhance economic activity while preserving their unique character and diverse natural resources.
Coastal activities drive economic growth
The coast provides a wide range of tourism and recreation amenities that drive economic growth and prosperity, from leisurely pursuits like fishing or beachcombing to more adrenaline-fueled sports like surfing or kiteboarding. Sea Grant’s Joe Farrell, Edward Lewandowski, and Jim Falk are working with local community and University of Delaware partners to examine the impact of coastal activities and develop related outreach programs.
A new Sea Grant study confirms just how important the coastal economy is to Delaware. The study found that the state’s coastal economy contributes almost $7 billion in direct and indirect industry production, serving as a major economic driver. It also employs tens of thousands of Delawareans and attracts millions of visitors annually to the state’s Atlantic coast beaches, Inland Bays, and natural coastal areas.
Views on the horizon
Rising energy prices and concerns over air quality from burning fossil fuels have led to increased interest in offshore wind as an alternative source of power for coastal areas. Scientists at Delaware Sea Grant have been at the forefront of examining this technology.
Offshore wind farms take advantage of strong coastal winds by placing dozens of turbines in ocean waters for electricity production. Since these farms are often within view of the shore, researcher George Parsons is surveying beachgoers to gauge their opinions on how the turbines might impact the natural seascape.
In doing so, scientists and policymakers will be able to estimate the potential impact of offshore wind farms on beach use in Delaware and predict how visitation patterns might change with different wind farm configurations. The results will be applicable to coastal communities throughout the mid-Atlantic region, informing policymakers and helping them to make sound decisions about energy siting and local tourism-based economies.
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