The role of the local community within the national ocean policy: the decision to build an ocean outfall in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Russell, Madeleine
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University of Delaware
This thesis explores a local community decision to build an ocean outfall in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, as a coastal management decision designed to improve water quality in the impaired Inland Bays. Designating the Inland Bays as an impaired waterway led to a federal mandate for the Rehoboth Beach to reroute its wastewater effluent from the Inland Bays. The decision was made prior to the development and adoption of the National Ocean Policy, however, coordination and implementation of this policy could improve the process for addressing water quality conditions throughout coastal communities through ecosystem-based management and coastal and marine spatial planning. This thesis examines the National Ocean Policy adopted by President Obama in 2010 and addresses the questions of how the local community can benefit from the implementation of the National Ocean Policy and how the National Ocean Policy can improve the capacity of the local community to manage its coastal environment. The National Ocean Policy will influence local projects. Development of regional planning bodies that include local communities and highlight the achievements of interagency actions will strengthen the capacity of local, state, regional, and federal collaboration. Streamlining regulations, assisting with the technical analysis of options, and applying a sense of urgency toovercome local politics and resolve conflicts would have benefitted Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, in its examination of effluent disposal options.