Kayakers Help to Restore Inland Bays Habitat on August 21

by Dave on August 6, 2010

Paddlers jockey for position at the start of a race at the last Paddlin’ for the Bays Poker Paddle at the Bayfront at Rehoboth community on Camp Arrowhead Road. To register for this year’s paddle on August 21st call the Center for the Inland Bays at 226-8105 or go online to register at www.inlandbays.org.

Kayaking has traditionally been viewed as a low-impact recreational activity, but in Delaware’s Inland Bays, it has the distinction of having a huge impact; on wildlife habitat that is. Since the first “Paddlin’ for the Bays” event in 2007, over $9,000 has been raised to support habitat restoration efforts in the Inland Bays watershed.

“Without these funds, we never would have been able to do the heron rookery on Middle Island, the eel ladder on Betts Pond dam, or the native tree and shrub plantings on Vines Creek,” said Eric Buehl, Habitat Coordinator for the Center for the Inland Bays, “and having the support of the community and the sponsors has given us funds to draw upon when an opportunity presents itself. We can’t thank them enough.”

One high profile project is the heron rookery on Middle Island located near Massey’s Landing in lower Rehoboth Bay. “We were surprised by the number of Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, and Snowy Egret that had to nest on the ground on the island. You could see that storm tides had washed over the nests in the past,” said Buehl. “We came up with the idea of putting in a structure to get them off the ground, above any storm surge, so they’d have a better chance at raising their young.” Funding for the project was a combination of Paddlin’ for the Bays proceeds and from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

On Saturday, August 21 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., the Bayfront at Rehoboth community will again be teaming up with the Center for the Inland Bays and other sponsors to host the 3rd annual Paddlin’ for the Bays Poker Paddle and Cookout at the beach at the Bayfront at Rehoboth community on Camp Arrowhead Road. As in the past, the proceeds from the event will be used to support habitat restoration projects.

The cost is $20 for a single kayak entry and $30 for a tandem if you register online before the event. “It’s a really fun day for the entire family,” said Buehl, “not only is it a great chance to get out on the water, there will be prizes for the race winners, the best poker hand, and there will be a cookout afterwards, so be sure to bring your appetite!”

For more information about the event or to register online, visit the Center’s website at www.inlandbays.org or call Eric Buehl at 302-226-8105.

The Center for the Inland Bays is a National Estuary Program dedicated to promoting the wise use and enhancement of Delaware’s Inland Bays and their watersheds through habitat protection and restoration, science and research, education and outreach and public policy. For more information on the Delaware Inland Bays, visit www.inlandbays.org.

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