Letter to USACE from Nancy Cabrera-Santos

February 8, 2015                                                                              

Frank J. Cianfreni, Chief, Regulatory Branch

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers--Philadelphia Region

Dear Mr. Cianfreni,

I am writing to express my extreme opposition to the proposed modification of DE Aquaculture regulations, (NWP 48) forwarded by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). Each of the eight proposed aquaculture development areas (SADA’s) must be considered individually, since each is unique-- environmentally and recreationally.

As former Chair of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee of the Center for the Inland Bays, I have become increasingly disturbed over the huge citizen outcry concerning two of the proposed locations:  (1) Beach Cove (Indian River Bay, SADA IR-B) and (2) Assawoman Bay (LA-B). I have dedicated the last three years of my life as a volunteer working to achieve citizen consensus on a variety of environmental issues that impact our Inland Bays. However, this is the first time that I have seen the level of anger, and frustration expressed by my fellow, well-meaning citizens.

This is bad for the environment and also the life blood of our community—tourism. Here at the beach, we rely on the goodwill and common sense of tourists who provide support for our local economy and help us take care of our precious bays and beaches. This does not include a dizzying array of oyster cages, five foot PVC poles and related equipment emerging from the water and spoiling our beach landscape--a treasure we all equally enjoy.

I submit to you that a balance can be achieved, one that encompasses citizen enjoyment of the land, environmental impacts and a new profitable oyster industry.  Rather than competing interests, I think these elements can go hand in hand. Without due process and citizen discourse, the two contested SADA areas are nevertheless being considered up for lease.  In my view, this is a travesty of the public interest.  As you state in your transmittal (page 6): “The decision of whether to modify NWP48 with proposed regional conditions will be based on an evaluation of probable impact, including its cumulative impact on the public interest

With this in mind, I have composed a short poem (attached) to underline the probable impact on one of our most beloved recreation areas, Beach Cove. This poem addresses the human implications of oyster farming from the viewpoint of one small boy. I must add, that this is also true for the Assawoman location where a variety of adverse impacts are predicted, including the closing of one of our most coveted tourist destinations-- Coastal Kayak.

Nancy Cabrera-Santos, Ocean View, DE