Delaware beaches again ranked No. 1 in the nation

DOVER (June 27, 2013) – Delaware’s beaches have again been lauded for having the cleanest water quality in the nation, with the state also celebrated for boasting two of the country’s few “Superstar Beaches,” according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the non-partisan international environmental advocacy group founded in 1970 which annually assesses all beaches in 30 coastal states.

Two of the state’s most popular beaches – Rehoboth and Dewey – were again awarded 5-star ratings as Superstar Beaches for their perfect swimming water quality for the past four years. They were two of only 13 Superstar Beaches so designated by the NRDC among beaches of the coastal states. In its report, ”Testing the Waters” in Delaware released this week, the NRDC also recognized DNREC’s Recreational Water Quality Testing Program as one of the most comprehensive in the nation.

“Clean water quality and nourished ocean beaches are vital to tourism, job growth and Delaware’s economy,” said Governor Jack Markell. “Delaware’s ranking as first in the country for swimming water quality and our beautifully-nourished community beaches continue to make our coastal resorts national destinations of choice.”

Delaware attracts more than 7 million visitors each year, many of them drawn to the state’s scenic Atlantic beaches. According to a recent report, The Contribution of the Coastal Economy to the State of Delaware, by Delaware Sea Grant College Program at the University of Delaware, the state’s coastal economy has a significant impact on Delaware’s overall economy – generating almost $7 billion annually, including over $700 million in tax revenue and supporting almost 60,000 jobs. The report found that beach tourism provides more than 10 percent of the state’s total employment, taxes, and business production.

“For yet another year, Delaware’s beaches have been recognized as some of the best in the country. That’s due in no small part to our state’s efforts to clean up and preserve our coastline,” said Senator Tom Carper. “Infrastructure projects, dune replenishment and clean water have helped make places like Rehoboth and Dewey some of the most beautiful and safe tourist destinations in America. I’m proud that this distinction will help spread the word about what we in Delaware have known for years: that the First State has some of the best beaches in the world.”

“Delaware’s beaches are among the best in the country not only because of their natural wonder, but because of the enduring commitment of so many to protect them,” Senator Chris Coons said. “Here in Delaware, we know that protecting our beautiful coastline isn’t just important to summer fun, but to our local economy, too. Keeping our water clean, beaches healthy, and coastal infrastructure secure is a priority at every level, and I’m proud to do my part to help in Congress. My family can’t wait to spend time at Delaware’s beaches this summer, and I hope the NRDC’s announcement will help encourage other families to do the same.” 

“Every year, thousands of Delawareans, and millions more from across the country visit Delaware’s beaches. They come to enjoy our pristine shoreline with the highest quality beach water in the nation,” said U.S. Representative John Carney. “In the process, they support both the state and local economy. I’m very proud that investments by the federal government and DNREC will help Delaware preserve its coastline, maintain the cleanest water in the ocean, and stay a destination area along the Atlantic Coast for many years to come.”

“With Delaware once again rated No. 1 nationally for beach water quality, and both
Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach again recognized as ‘superstar beaches’ – and with the continued success of our nationally-recognized beach nourishment projects – Delaware has emerged as one of the nation’s most pristine beach destinations, ” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “By continuing to steward our treasured natural resources, our beaches prominent among them, we can protect and enhance this economic and environmental advantage for years to come.”

Delaware ranked first out of 30 states for cleanest water quality overall. The NRDC report cited Delaware State Park beaches – Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island – and the state’s Atlantic community beaches – Rehoboth, Dewey, Bethany, South Bethany, and Fenwick Island – for having excellent swimming water quality, with only a single swimming advisory (of less than 24 hours) issued among all those beaches in 2012.

“We’re delighted that Delaware’s State Park beaches continue to be recognized as among the nation’s best and cleanest,” said Charles Salkin, director, DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation. “We strive to offer Delawareans and visitors the best summer experience possible – beautiful landscapes and great facilities and programs, all at very family-affordable prices. Ultimately, this all depends on the quality of our ocean waters.”

DNREC’s Recreational Water Quality Testing Program has great breadth and consistency in its beach monitoring, frequently sampling water quality, coastal hazards and other public health and safety concerns from Slaughter Beach to the Delaware/Maryland line. The program includes a notification system that alerts the public promptly should a swimming advisory or beach closing be necessary from a threat such as harmful bacteria. Up-to-date water quality results are posted on DNREC’s website, also available by calling DNREC’s toll-free, 24-hour “Beach Hotline” at 1-800-992-WAVE (9283) or by signing up to receive Beach
Monitoring updates at                                                                 

Vol. 43, No. 260