LEWES — The unveiling of a radar antenna on Lewes Beach 2 on Friday showed the importance of keeping coastal communities safe by predicting storms and rip currents in the Delaware Bay.
This high-frequency radar antenna not only represents the technological advancements being brought to Lewes, but also represents the relationships formed to make it all possible.
All six presenters of the launch told stories of their connections to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System and its executive director Gerhard F. Kuska while highlighting the importance of the radar to the Delaware Bay.
The antenna, which is connected to 41 radar stations between Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, will send out a harmless radio signal that reflects off the water and is received onshore to show ocean currents’ direction and speed.
According to Mr. Kuska, several environmental concerns that have been raised by Lewes Mayor Theodore Becker and Lewes City Council ,such as coastal resilience, hazard mitigation, climate impacts and sustainability, can be addressed further.
“Lewes is pleased to support this placement of the antenna here at Beach 2 and recognizes that this placement underscores the city’s first core value. We have a series of core values and the very first one that we identified is that Lewes has a special and unique relationship with the sea. What a great opportunity that this antenna presents,” said Mayor Becker.
According to the MARACOOS website, visitors to Delaware beaches depend on their coastal observations for safety during hazardous weather and unforeseen events, such as oil spills.
Also, the data that is produced by the antenna will “improve the safety of residents and visitors by shortening Coast Guard search times,” according to the website. In addition, it is aimed to continue to keep local fisheries healthy by monitoring the water quality of the Delaware Bay.
Some of the other benefits of the antenna include better observation of water quality changes, the ability to forecast rip currents and increasing coverage of the Delaware Bay.
Shawn Garvin, the secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, noted it will directly support the National Weather Service flood forecasting and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration navigation services.
“The real time data this system provides will support the information tools DNREC uses to make decisions for wise stewardship of our precious coastal resources,” said Mr. Garvin.
“Accurate and current data predicting storms and other coastal hazards are essential in supporting safer and more resilient coastal communities, especially as we face the impacts and effects of climate change today and into the future.”
The University of Delaware owns the antenna and is in partnership with MARACOOS. Through this partnership, MARACOOS gained meteorological and oceanographic data from the experts at the university’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment.
“MARACOOS is an example of an important partnership to actively contribute to the safety, security, health, economy and overall well-being of Delawareans,” said university provost Robin Morgan.
This new high frequency radar will help keep Delawareans safe and provide further insight into the waters that surround us.
“This radar is just one part, but an important part. Our oceans (and) our coasts are too precious for us to take them granted.” said Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del.
This article was produced with support of a grant from the Delaware Community Foundation. For more information, visit delcf.org/journalism.