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DNREC: Division of Soil & Water Conservation: Macro-Algae Harvesting Program

Macro-Algae Harvesting Program

The quality of the waters of Delaware’s Inland Bays is very important to the outdoor recreational activities provided to visitors and residents alike. The Assawoman, Indian River and Rehoboth Bays provide a superb venue for fishing, boating, waterskiing and other related outdoor activities. However, like so many natural resources, these areas also suffer from the negative effects of development and other land disturbing activities.

With development and runoff from adjacent residential and agriculture lands, there has been an increase in nutrients deposited in these water ways, which has resulted in an increase in macro-algae growth. Attached macro-algae are beneficial in that they provide habitat for juvenile crabs and fish. When the algae become detached and begin to accumulate along shorelines and in near-shore areas, these buildups then become both environmental and nuisance concerns. For this reason, the DNREC Macro-algae Harvesting Team, under the direction of the Division of Soil and Water Conservation, initiates harvesting activities to remove these problem buildups. One of the goals of these activities is to minimize the amount of by-catch present in the accumulated algae. For this reason, the Division coordinates its harvesting operations with the Division of Fish and Wildlife to ensure that the amount of by-catch is minimized to the extent possible.

The Harvesting Program was initiated in 1997 and typically operates from early April through August in any given year. The Harvesting Team routinely conducts weekly inspections throughout the Inland Bays to locate potential or known problem areas for harvesting. With as many residents and annual visitors utilizing our Inland Bay waterways each year, this Program is a valuable asset in DNREC’s efforts to protect, preserve, and restore the natural resources of this estuarine environment.


Last Updated: Monday May 16 2005
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