Delaware Bayshore

The Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system supplies most of the water supply needs of the Delaware Bayshore, an area characterized by a cultural, physical and economic connection to the Delaware Bay and extends across Salem, Cumberland, and western Cape May Counties.

This region, 1,48Reeds Beach- ALS image2 square miles, and home to approximately 320,000 year-round residents, speaks of agricultural land, woodlands, forested wetlands, and tidal marshes.

Salem County is known for its smaller rural communities that are surrounded by row crop agriculture. In Cumberland County, while agriculture is the dominant land use, it also has several urbanized centers with concentrations of commercial and industrial uses, including fishing and shellfish industries, which play an important role in Cumberland’s economy. Western Cape May County also experiences tourists who come to see the shorebirds that use the Atlantic flyway, a migratory bird route.

All manner of agricultural products are grown in the Bayshore, from vegetables to nursery plants, and fruits. In the summer months the vitality of the agriculture industry can be seen firsthand by a short drive through the area as corn, soybeans, and fruit trees line the roads. Historically, glass manufacturing and the textile industry has played an important role in the area. Currently, the region has diversified into areas such prepared food production, manufacturing, and healthcare.

Salem County Farm - ALS imageFishing and shellfish operations along the Delaware Bay have a long history which has faded in and out. In the early 1900’s the shellfish operations along the bay employed thousands and created fortunes but the industry was hurt by overfishing and a parasite which led to a precipitous industry decline in the mid-1900’s. Today, attempts are being made to restore the shellfish populations of the Bayshore.

With a rich history and spectacular natural areas, the Delaware Bayshore landscape is like nothing seen elsewhere in New Jersey. This unique landscape results from, and depends upon the water resources of the Kirkwood Cohansey aquifer system.

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