(302) 703-7086

Taylor Thomson

Cape Henlopen, 9th grade

Protecting my Ecosystem

I have practically lived all of my life on Delaware Bay. All of my favorite things in my life: my family, friends, sailing, surfing, and swimming are all found at the beach. When my favorite people and I go, we are there for almost half a day, 12 hours filled with sun, salt, and the calm pulse of the waves rolling onto the shore. The Delaware Bay’s ecosystem is filled with profuse wildlife, from sandpipers and blue crabs to bald eagles and humpbacks. Delaware is home to 17 state parks. The Cape Henlopen State Park is conveniently located at the mouth of Delaware Bay, where it converges with the Atlantic Ocean. Cape Henlopen State Park is home to a vast array of endangered species, including the black skimmer, least tern, and piping plover. Referring to the Thank You Delaware Bay Campaign, the Bay is one of the world’s four most paramount shorebird migration sights. Delaware Bay is a protective cove of water where animals come to give birth and rest on their journey. Red knots, sanderlings, ruddy turnstones, and many other seabirds will pause migration and fuel up on horseshoe crab eggs, prehistoric crabs that roam the Delaware Bays coastline. Not only do I love the Bay just because of its ecosystem, but it is a place where my family has always connected, even generations before me. The feeling of the sun on my skin, sand beneath my toes, and jumping into the cold water after baking in the hot heat. I chose to write about Delaware Bay because it is truly defined as my environment, and I would not survive without it. Knowing that climate change is arising breaks my heart as I see endangered species die off, sea levels rise, and plastic build up. It will always be a fantastic day when I am at Delaware Bay, and I hope Delawareans can try their best to prevent further damage to savor that. 

In the present day, Delaware Bay is actively being affected by climate change. Referring to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, in the article “What Climate Change Means for Delaware,” Delaware’s temperature has increased by 2 degrees F in the last century, and the sea is rising about one inch every seven years. As a result of climate change, species, specifically invasive species, are more vulnerable to dying. Most ecosystems are known to have a delicate balance of life. Specifically, certain species are critical to the survival of other species in the system. As stated in the first paragraph, Delaware is home to many invasive birds and wildlife. The Delaware Bay surrounds roughly the whole east side of the state. According to the Thank You Delaware Bay website, approximately 70 percent of the oil shipped to the East Coast of the U.S. passes through Delaware Bay. Since tanker ships regularly carry oil through Delaware, the state is vulnerable to oil spills. If dumped into the ocean, oil kills marine organisms and disrupts ecosystems’ structure and function. On February 7, a vessel had been overturned, which caused a massive oil spill on Tobago Island. According to Reuters, in the article “Tobago’s tourism, fishing hit as oil slick spreads across the Caribbean,” the barge is believed to have carried as much as 35,00 barrels of fuel oil and blackened the island’s beaches. The slick has now reached about 89 miles into the Caribbean Sea. Even though this spill was not in Delaware, we may be at risk of having one. Oil spills impact both wildlife and people. They disrupt the life cycles of animals, alter migratory patterns, and result in shoreline erosion. 

Delaware depends on tourism as part of their economy. If there is an oil spill or even polluted waters, beaches and waterways will be closed. Which impacts the local economy and commercial fisheries. Having lived in Delaware all of my life, I am petrified about what our future will bring regarding climate change. To prevent further harm, people can cut back on their carbon footprint by becoming vegetarian, biking, or taking public transportation to places. People can recycle, save energy at home, or even throw away less food. 

Many things about Delaware Bay are unknown to many people. Typically, tourists will visit Delaware for a summer vacation or to visit family and will happen to go to the Bay just because it is a beach. Whenever my family and I go, we find super cool things like a mermaid’s purse and an egg case that holds shark or skate eggs. Sometimes, we see dolphins or turtles while sitting by the shore. Delaware is known for its horseshoe crab population; they are “living fossils” that have existed before dinosaurs. The horseshoe crab’s blood is used for essential vaccines and helps maintain the safety of many drugs. My point is that many people are not experiencing that wonder because the Delaware Bay is hidden. But, once you start researching, you will be amazed at all the Bay offers. People need to spread the message of all the wonderful things in the Bay. Endangered wildlife, the beach, and state parks. Everything that Delaware Bay has is amazing, and people need to keep it this way by preventing further ecosystem damage.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *