delware environmental institute

Water watchdogs: Delaware Sea Grant water monitoring program celebrates 20 years

Water watchdogs:  Delaware Sea Grant water monitoring program celebrates 20 years

They converge off Florida’s Gulf Coast, filling the water with ghostly rouge-colored clouds, causing human respiratory irritation, and forcing the state to close shellfish beds. When the tiny, toxic plants associated with red tide showed up in Delaware’s Indian River Inlet in 2007 — the first time they’d appeared north of Cape Hatteras, N.C. — John Schneider knew the possible consequences.

“It’s nothing to mess with, that’s for sure,” said Schneider, who oversees the state of Delaware’s water resources management section and has faced red tide before in both Florida and North Carolina.

Thankfully, a ready team of staff and trained volunteers from the University of Delaware Citizen Monitoring Program took more than 100 water samples and supplied daily reports for two weeks after they initially identified the problem. That steady stream of information allowed the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to provide the public with appropriate health advisories and to keep a close eye on the situation at little cost. (Full article)