Core to IBF’s mission is to restore the Bays “Swimmable and Fishableʺ condition. Our vision is for the Inland Bays and their tributaries to be broadly recognized as a national treasure and restored to good health as measured by established water quality standards, resulting in clear water, free of impacts from toxic contaminants with healthy oxygen levels, and suitable for fishing and swimming.
The Center For The Inland Bays (CIB) reports there are 60,000 registered boaters and 250,000 fishing trips per year in and around the Bays in Sussex County – part of a $7 billion coastal economy supporting 59,000 jobs. The statistics are from a 2018 report of the CIB’s Mountaire Pollution Committee. The report details effects of the Mountaire Farms wastewater spray irrigation system on fields bordering Swan Creek and the Indian River (part of the Inland Bay Watershed). The nitrogen concentration of the River near Swan Creek from 2000-2017 as reported by the company to DNREC far exceeds the water quality standard.
IBF members and residents in the Indian River area have for years testified at DNREC hearings of floating dead fish, lack of crabs, algae, lack of barnacles, poor air quality and other evidence of pollution affecting wildlife and recreation. The CIB report helped support these observations with data and background analysis.
IBF presented Chris Bason, the CIB executive director, with its 2018 Environmental Award for his leadership of the Committee and its impactful, timely report, as well as his overall stewardship in protecting the Inland Bays Watershed.
Since 2013, IBF has supported Protecting Our Indian River (POIR), a community group formed to fight continuing pollution of the Indian River resulting from the Millsboro Pinnacle “Brownfields” site and its remake into a poultry processing facility. POIR and IBF testify at many DNREC and Sussex County regulatory hearings to stop contamination from wastewater and other pollution at the site now operating as the Allen Harim Millsboro chicken de-boning plant. IBF has also supported legal action relating to Harim and continues to press for the termination of the NPDES permit that it believes was improperly transferred from Pinnacle to Harim.
IBF also supports Keep Our Wells Clean in their efforts to monitor the operations of Allen Harim Foods in Harbeson. The Harbeson facility seeks to partner with Artesian Water Company to pipe (9 miles) its treated wastewater to Milton, place it in a 90 million gallon lagoon and spray it on local farm fields and forested land. Given the impact on private wells and adjacent waterways, as evidenced by the CIB in its investigation of Mountaire’s spray field operation, IBF opposes further permitting for chicken wastewater spray field irrigation systems.