More than 80 percent of people who live near the Delaware Bay said they “strongly agree” with the statement that they care about the environment, according to a recent survey conducted for the Manomet Center.


Manomet has been working on a social marketing campaign in the Delaware Bay region – of New Jersey and Delaware – to connect residents to the migratory shorebird population and the overall ecology.


The Delaware Bay was the first site included in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network and is a critical stopover for shorebirds that migrate each spring from southern South America to breeding grounds in the Arctic. Because of threats to their migrations and stopover habitats some shorebird species population levels have dropped dramatically in recent years. The rufa Red Knot population has fallen 80 percent in the last two decades.


The campaign is designed to highlight the Bay’s vital and unique ecological importance and its value to residents and visitors.


The survey also revealed that 79 percent of residents believe that shorebirds are important to the environmental quality of the region but a strong majority also needed more education about their winged visitors.


“The survey results speak powerfully about the values of the people who live on both the Delaware and New Jersey sides of the Bay,” said Charles Duncan, Director of Manomet’s Shorebird Recovery Project.  “We found that people from all sectors: business owners, local officials, sportsmen, birdwatchers and educators, are speaking with one voice, saying ‘We care about this place, our place, and that includes the shorebirds and horseshoe crabs.’”


The poll was conducted in April by DHM Research, an independent polling firm.


Researchers contacted more than 400 residents who live within 15 miles of the Delaware Bay coastline.  The survey’s margin of error is 3 percent to 5 percent.


The survey also revealed that 100 percent of respondents say that they care about the environment and more than 90 percent believe the Delaware Bay is important to their history, economy, and for recreation.


– Dave McGlinchey