YOUR INPUT NEEDED FOR LATEST INLAND BAYS PLAN

Public input sought for latest CIB plan

Comprehensive management plan to guide future work

By Melissa Steele | Jun 11, 2012
Cape Gazette
Photo by: Melissa Steele Presenters broke into groups to discuss the comprehensive plan. Pictured are (l-r) Bill Bernardi, Lewes; Eric Buehl, habitat coordinator for CIB; Betty Harvilla, Lewes; and Jessica Watson of the Sussex Conservation District.

The Center for the Inland Bays wants to hear from the public about its plan for the future. The center is developing a new comprehensive management plan.

"This is a management plan for the waterways," said Chris Bason, executive director of the CIB. "It's a guiding document for the conservation work we do."

The comprehensive plan first developed in 1995 will help the waterway-watchdog group prioritize its goals as it moves into the future. A steering committee began work in 2011 on the latest document.

There plan focuses on management of nutrients, wastewater, stormwater, water quality and living resources and their habitat as well as planning for climate change and outreach and education.

"I'm hoping people will look at this and tell us their priorities," Bason said.

A recent public hearing held on the comprehensive plan, several residents questioned the role of Sussex County government.

"The county plays such an important role in having an impact on the bays," said Ron Wuslich, a former chairman of the CIB's Citizens Action Committee.

Roy Miller, moderator for the public hearing, said county representatives were repeatedly invited to the comprehensive plan workshops, but they may have had other priorities.

"I wish we had more input from the county," he said.

Educating Sussex County Council on the need to protect local waterways – whether by creating buffers between private property and shorelines or regulating other ways to prevent noxious runoff that pollutes waterways – has emerged as a priority, Bason said.

"That's a clear message we got," he said. "We need to do a better job as a center about he importance of the bays."

Once public comments are gathered and incorporated in the latest comprehensive plan, Bason said he expects a draft plan to be completed by June or July. For more information on the comprehensive plan, go to www.inlandbays.org.