Economic Value of the Delaware Inland Bays

The Economic Value of the Delaware Inland Bays

September 6, 2022- The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays (CIB) and the Delaware Sea Grant College Program have completed a first-ever assessment of the Economic Value of the Delaware Inland Bays, which reports that the Inland Bays generate over $4.5 billion in annual economic activity and support over 35,000 jobs. A key finding of the study is that the economic contributions are felt locally – 89 percent of the economic activity and 94 percent of the jobs occur in Sussex County.

The report was authored by Christian Hauser of Delaware Sea Grant and Christopher Bason of CIB. Key-Log Economics, an independent ecological and economic research firm based in Charlottesville, Va., performed the data analysis. Key-Log helps focus ecological and economic information on land use issues and ecosystem management.

Here are some of the highlights of the economic reporting:

  • Economic activity within the Inland Bays study region provides tax revenue to federal, state, and county governments estimated at $458 million.
  • The Bays’ thriving marina and boating economy contributes $76 million in activity
  • Accommodations, including at least 13 privately operated RV and tent campgrounds near the Inland Bays, contribute $144 million in activity and over 1,000 jobs.
  • The study cites research indicating that in 2019, 7.5 million visitors came to Sussex County and that tourism is now the fourth largest employer in the state.

The Delaware Sea Grant College Program was established in 1976 to promote the wise use, conservation, and management of Delaware’s coastal resources. To achieve this mandate, Delaware Sea Grant leverages federal and state funding to provide financial support to external partners for innovative research, community development, and conservation projects. Our staff also provide one-on-one consultations, deliver workshops and trainings, develop balanced written assessments, and lead hands-on projects regarding a diverse array of issues pertaining to healthy coastal ecosystems, resilient communities and economies, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, and environmental literacy. Benefits of this work are provided to a diverse array of stakeholders, including communities, elected officials, industry, and other non-profit organizations.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a nonprofit organization established in 1994 and is one of 28 National Estuary Programs. With its many partners, the Center works to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays and their watershed. To achieve its mission, the center facilitates the implementation of the Inland Bays Comprehensive Conservation and management Plan, conducts public outreach and education, develops and implements water quality and habitat restoration projects, conducts research, and supports public policy. Authors: Christian A. Hauser, Delaware Sea Grant College Program Christopher W. Bason, Delaware Center for the Inland Bays.