Environmental Summit returns to Cape May County - NBC40.net

Environmental Summit returns to Cape May County

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The Environmental Summit has returned to Cape May County for the 5th time in 10 years, this time focusing on problems facing the Delaware River and Bay with a special emphasis on how Hurricane Sandy has affected the waterways.

A rash of storms, including Hurricane Sandy impacted all of South Jersey, but experts at the Delaware Estuary are trying to find ways to protect their land, by hosting an environmental summit.

"It's an opportunity to get them together to hear about their research, their programs, their projects. To share with each other so we can all have the best access to the best information out there," said Jennifer Adkins, the Executive Director for the Partnership of the Delaware Estuary.

Environmentalists from all over attended the summit, including Dan Tomaso, a graduate student at Penn State University.

Tomaso, and his professor Ray Najjar, have focused their research on climate changes. Najjar says over the past few years the climate at the Delaware River has gotten warmer. This is a projection he expects will continue.

"It's likely going to get warmer. We have seen a climate change already that is quite consistent with what we expect from increases in house gases," said Najjar.

But this isn't the only issue facing the Delaware River and Bay.

"The range of problems and issues is huge, but they impact each other," said Adkins. "Water quality impacts fish, oysters impact water quality."

To help with these problems, the estuary began to enforce the wetlands, an idea that was developed at the environmental summit in 2005.

"They become one of your priorities, and we have done a lot of work around assessing the health of the wetlands and trying to find ways to make them healthier, more resilient with climate change and sea level rise."

The summit will continue until Wednesday. Anyone is welcome to attend the discussions, which start each day at 9:00 AM at the Grand Hotel in Cape May.

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