One Man’s Impact Through UD Sea Grant

by Dave on July 4, 2009

As first seen in Coastal Sussex Weekly, June 11, 2009:

Jim Falk shares some of the specific initiatives that he is and has been involved with through the Delaware Sea Grant program at the University:

“My work with the Inland Bays goes back quite a few years. My most recent involvement was with the water use plan. That was looking at activities on the water, and how use conflicts might be apparent on the water and how you might address them. Conflicts between jet skis and boaters or watermen, or scientists trying to grow eel grasses and having people come in and dig up the beds. Trying to make people more aware that there are multiple uses going on in the bays, and that everyone has a right, but trying to deal with managing the uses is critical. After we did the initial study, they followed up with a Water Use Implemenation Committee that moved forward and addresses different issues. One of the big things they do now is a big Inland Bays cleanup.


“Right now, we’ve been very active through our Sea Grant Program with D-LITE (Delmarva Low-Impact Tourism Experiences). Our interest is focusing on providing education and research support.

“After they completed their birding weekend last year, we helped them develop an online questionnaire that we sent out to all of the birders who participated to try to develop a profile of birders and estimate some economic expenditures that birders spend, and we used that to go out and market it and get sponsorship and show that birding is not only interesting to environmentalists and conservationists, but it can stimulate the economy.

“We worked on ecotourism in the state about 10 years ago and then it died off for a while, and now it’s back. Working regionally seems to have a stronger element to it. Birds don’t subscribe to state boundaries.

“What we’re trying to do is help the tourist industry businesses partner with the ecotourism providers, develop package deals with kayak trips and hotel stays and things like that.

“Not only that, but the maritime history of our peninsula, and trying to build that into the ecotourism initiatives we’re working on with D-LITE.”

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