CIB’s Walch to discuss estuary science at South Bethany event

All are welcome to a free program titled “Get on Board with the Bays” by Marianne Walch of the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays (CIB), as the South Bethany Women’s Club hosts the talk on environmental education and science on Thursday, May 16, at 1 p.m. at South Bethany Town Hall.

As the CIB’s estuary science and restoration coordinator, Walch leads the research, monitoring and aquatic ecosystem restoration efforts.

“She’s going to be speaking about her work and the community and how we — South Bethany Women’s Club — can help her educate the community the way she is doing,” said event organizer Sue Allensbach. “She’ll be talking about some of the projects she’s working on, that sort of thing.”

South Bethany has an active Canal Water Quality Committee for monitoring the water, testing new ideas and partnering with the experts — especially the CIB.

“You know how much South Bethany does in the way of water quality. We work with CIB so well, and we are always looking for good programs,” said Allensbach. Walch, she said, “comes with such a great deal of experience. … We’re excited about having her come and speak.”

The majority of South Bethany houses are situated near or on the ocean or on canals, so people are close to water on a regular basis, for recreation or the view. However, the town’s canals weren’t designed in an environmentally savvy way when the Hall family purchased and re-sculpted the land around the 1950s. With only two connections to the Little Assawoman Bay, most of South Bethany’s five miles of canals have limited flushing and refreshing of water, so deleterious nutrients are easily trapped.

With decades of environmental research experience in academic and government jobs, Walch has worked in stormwater quality, oyster aquaculture, remediation and wastewater treatment. She lived and worked around the Chesapeake Bay for most of her life and moved to the Delaware shore in 2002, bringing a doctorate and master’s degrees in from Harvard University. In her spare time, she is a national leader in tai chi who enjoys cats, photography and art, birding, native-plant gardening, hiking and kayaking.

The South Bethany Women’s Club aims to promote social, cultural, educational and community-service activities. It is open to any woman who shares in that purpose, “not just people who are in South Bethany. We have people from the whole community that belong to our group,” Allenspach said.

They typically meet on the third Thursday of each month, with various guest speakers, from environmental scientist to beekeeper.

“There’s just a wealth of information from people who have moved down to the Bethany area, and so we’re always looking for people who have something to share.”


By Laura Walter

Staff Reporter