press release September 24, 2013
WILMINGTON, Del. — The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is asking residents of the Delaware Valley to “Toast the Coast” on Sept. 28 in celebration of the 25th annual National Estuaries Day. The local organization is part of a network of 28 National Estuary Programs working to improve and restore the nation’s most important estuaries, which are vibrant coastal areas where rivers meet the sea.
“The toast is a way for people all around the country to show their appreciation and support for our rivers and bays, by simply raising a glass,” said Jennifer Adkins, executive director of the PDE. “Whether it’s a glass of tap water or some other beverage, if it was made here in the tri-state area, chances are, it depends on clean water from our rivers and streams.”
The PDE invites its supporters to toast the coast on Sept. 28 at The Great Pumpkin Debate, a pumpkin beer tasting and hayride at 6 p.m. in Bellevue State Park outside Wilmington. Proceeds from this $25-per-person fundraiser will benefit the nonprofit’s work in local waterways, like the Brandywine River, Delaware River and beyond. Those who cannot attend are invited to share pictures of their own toasts honoring clean rivers and bays online at Facebook.com/DelawareEstuary. They will be joined by thousands of individuals and organizations around the country celebrating with toasts and other National Estuaries Day events.
The Delaware River and Bay provides the Delaware Valley with everything from clean drinking water and fresh seafood to electricity made possible by billions of gallons of cooling water. As recently as 2011, researchers at the University of Delaware calculated that the Delaware River estuary contributes well over $10 billion a year to the nation’s economy. They concluded that over half a million workers make their living off the estuary, either directly or indirectly, with about $10 billion in annual wages.
Nationwide, approximately 110 million people, or more than half of all Americans, live near an estuary and enjoy the many benefits estuaries provide. These benefits include jobs in industries like agriculture, commercial fishing, power generation, shipping, tourism, and even brewing and winemaking. According to the nonprofit Restore America’s Estuaries, coastal counties provide more than half the nation’s gross domestic product and support more than 69 million jobs, or about 40% of U.S. employment.
Estuaries also provide much more than jobs and wages. They provide habitat for fish, shellfish, shorebirds, waterfowl, and other wildlife. Hundreds of species use the protection of estuaries to breed, hunt, and raise their young. This, in turn, attracts tourists; as many as 180 million a year, according to a 1993 study. The salt marshes and wetlands used by these species also provide coastal residents with protection from hurricanes, nor’easters, and other storms.
The purpose of National Estuaries Day, first observed in 1988, is to promote the importance of coastal environments where rivers meet the sea. National Estuaries Day is supported by Restore America’s Estuaries, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association, the Association of National Estuary Programs, and many other organizations, associations, and agencies.
The Association of National Estuary Programs is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting responsible stewardship and a common vision for the preservation and restoration of our nation’s bays and estuaries. The ANEP works with the 28 National Estuary Programs established by Congress to protect and restore tidal waterways of national significance.
For more information about Toast the Coast or National Estuaries Day, call the PDE at (800) 655-4990.