WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE RIVER

 

The beautiful Nanticoke River is being destroyed by neglect


   Included in this website is information concerning 2 issues: First, how federal agencies (Corp of Engineers, EPA, US Coast Guard, etc.) and Delaware state agencies (DNREC, Sussex County Council, etc.) are ignoring damage that commercial and recreational marine vessel traffic is having on the environment of the Nanticoke River. Second, the effect that this neglect is having on public property and the property of home owners along the shores of the Nanticoke River in Sussex County, Delaware.

    The website content is not directed at stopping boat and barge traffic on the Nanticoke River.  Rather the intent is to call attention to the problems and encourage our public officials to address damage resulting from increased boat and barge traffic on the Nanticoke River.  It is also important to point out to boat and tug operators that their vessels can cause damage and that they should be responsible for such damage.

    When researching content for this site, I found the lack of regulation of boat and barge/tug traffic absolutely amazing.  For example there are no speed limits on the water.  Back when Delaware boating regulations were written (many decades ago) this may not have been a problem but now boats, wave runners, jet skis, etc. are built to easily exceed speeds of 60 MPH on the water - and some can obtain speeds of 80 MPH.  Imagine a boat with limited steering ability going 10 to 30 MPH faster than cars are allowed on Delaware roads?

    Boating regulations in Delaware were written many, many years ago and have gone virtually unchanged since the original laws/regulations were passed.

    Barge/tug regulations were written for vessels traveling on large bodies of water such as the Mississippi River or Chesapeake Bay.  Little thought or planning has gone into studying the effect that these very large vessels have on the environment along smaller bodies of water. For example. the Nanticoke River is only 300 to 400 feet wide in places. Many of the barges traveling the river are 400 feet in length and pushed by tugs that are 50 to 80 feet in length. The majority of the tug captains do their best to travel the river safely, but even a minor error with such a large vessel on such a narrow river will have adverse effects.

    WHAT WE NEED is for state and federal agencies to take a close look at how marine vessel traffic is affecting the Nanticoke River and its environment. Then update regulations based upon existing conditions and current vessel sizes, speeds and wake generation characteristics.

    FACT = Highway Departments monitor highway and road traffic routinely and make adjustments to regulations when needed. Marine vessel traffic is increasing rapidly but DNREC has not made any attempt to monitor the effects of increases in marine vessel traffic, nor have boating regulations been updated in many years. The same can be said for the U.S. Coast Guard and the Corps of Engineers as it relates to commercial vessel traffic.

  WHAT IS DESTROYED NOW CAN NEVER BE REPLACED. WHILE WE CAN ENJOY THE NANTICOKE RIVER -- OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN WILL NOT BE GIVEN THE SAME OPPORTUNITY UNLESS POSITIVE ACTION IS TAKEN BY OUR GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND ELECTED OFFICIALS.