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National Estuary Program (NEP)

State of the Bay Report for Delaware Inland Bays

The Inland Bays are coastal lagoons; bays that lie behind a narrow barrier island that separates them from the Atlantic Ocean. Travelling down Route 1, through Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach and Fenwick, the Inland Bays lay to the west. 

They are unique places where ‘the rivers meet the sea’. Where freshwater flowing from the land and down tributaries mixes with seawater that flows through inlets carved into barrier islands.

A collage of saltmarshes, tidal flats, bay grass meadows, oyster reefs and winding saltwater creeks make up this environment. For thousands of years, the Bays have supported
an abundance of fish and birds that come here to feed, reproduce, and grow. The beauty and productivity of this estuary now supports a thriving human culture and economy.

The Bays are dynamic, constantly changing in response to human activities and the climate.

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