The Beginning of an Oasis on the Delmarva with ESLC’s Rob Etgen


When you look at a map of the Delmarva, or from one of those NASA photographs from space, it’s hard not to think that this perfect peninsula must be its own state, or, secondarily, is part of just one state. And yet for reasons known and not known, the great Delmarva Peninsula is divided into three different states.

This helps understand the name itself, with the states of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia getting equal billing, but for centuries, this artificial division it has also lead to very unique identities for each section. Maryland has its own “Eastern Shore,” Virginia identifies itself as the “Lower Eastern Shore,”with Delaware picking up the rest by default. And alongside with those manmade divisions in government jurisdictions have come differences in culture, agricultural practices, and maritime use.

For many conservationists, this forced separation of what could be one of the East Coast’s most remarkable ecosystems has been a frustrating deterrent to large landscape strategies to protect the peninsula’s food production, its need for habitat protection and a sustainable approach to public access for the 20o mile land mass.

That frustration has not stopped state governments and environmental organizations to make substantial progress in protecting much of the Delmarva’s most important natural assets, particularly over the last forty years. But with the mounting evidence of climate change, and the dire predictions of significant changes in sea levels, a new push to see the Delmarva as a whole ecosystem has started to take place.

Starting with the visionary work of environmental writers such as E.O. Wilson, and more recently Tony Hiss, there is a growing consensus with many of the Delmarva’s most important stakeholders to double down at looking at the peninsula as one huge ecosystem, requiring more interstate strategies and cross-disciplinary initiatives. The result being the creation of the “Delmarva Oasis” as the collective name for all these long-term goals.

The Spy was interested in exploring with one of those essential stakeholders how this might work on the practical level. That is why we sat down with Rob Etgen last week to understand why the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is taking a leadership role to make the Delmarva Oasis a reality over the next decade.

This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information about the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and the Delmarva Oasis inviitivide please go here.

About Dave Wheelan

Letters to Editor

  1. Kristina Herold says

    We must keep up the push for more land easements on the Eastern Shore. As well, Delmarva states must work together as one state to provide more food and shoreline protection for the whole ecology of the Delmarva
    States shorelines and underwater stability. All of this requires much more monies from the three states.

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