Since its founding in 2004, SOLA3 has worked to improve the natural environment of Silver Lake, Lake Comegys and Lake Gerar by promoting good practices and initiatives, supporting programs that improve water quality while opposing projects or proposals that degrade water quality and wildlife, and providing programs to educate the public on how to be good stewards of the lakes.
Following are highlights of what we have accomplished with state and local officials, and our community, to achieve these goals.
• After years of local and state governments denying ownership of Silver Lake and Lake Comegys, SOLA3 presented our research to support State ownership to then Attorney General Beau Biden. Subsequently, Delaware’s Solicitor declared that the State of Delaware owns these lakes and that DNREC is the agency responsible for their management.
• The Delaware Assembly adopted concurrent resolution that recognizes the importance of the lakes to the character, history and environment of the community
• SOLA3 initiated a multi-faceted environmental improvement project at Lake Gerar that was completed with major financial support from DNREC and the City of Rehoboth.
• New spillway, regulating water levels at Silver Lake, installed by DNREC
• DNREC Dredged west end of Silver Lake to create deeper channel and wildlife habitat.
• DNREC, working with the City of Rehoboth Beach installed two stormceptors in large storm drains at Stockley and Laurel Streets (fed by 29 other storm drains), that flow into Silver Lake, with funding assistance provided by then Sen. George Bunting and Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf.
• SOLA3 is in the process of working with DNREC and the City of Rehoboth on developing a lakes’ management plan for Silver Lake and Lake Comegys.
• SOLA3 provided a new plan to better control run-off, erosion, and establish a 10 foot no-mow zone, and a living shoreline for a subdivision along Silver Lake, which was agreed to by the owners and became a condition for approving the development by the Rehoboth Beach Planning Commission.
• Shared cost with the City for DNREC testing water at the finger of Silver Lake for toxins
• Presented to the Planning Commission recommendations on how to improve the lakes, which was adopted in their Comprehensive Development Plan.
• City adopted an ordinance that requires a 10 foot, no build buffer around Lake Gerar and Silver Lake (SOLA3 asked for 15 foot setback)
• 425 feet of highly eroded shoreline along Silver Lake, owned by the City, was restored with a living shoreline with funding from DNREC through a cost share grant to the City
• A natural riparian buffer was installed along the shoreline of the City’s Stockley Street Park
• SOLA3 supported Rehoboth’s application to lead the Coastal Programs Resilient Communities Partnership with nearby towns. This program includes drafting ordinances that may address the other issues we have identified relating to improving the water quality of the lakes.
• Participate in community-wide effort to assure strictest environmental regulations are imposed on new development to protect Silver Lake, the public, and the natural environment.
• In late spring or early summer, SOLA3 sponsors an annual lakes’ cleanup where volunteers amass on foot and in boats to haul away piles of debris. Such “treasurers” as bicycles, tires and creosote-soaked lumber have been removed from the lakes. This effort greatly improves the appearance of the lakes and removes non-biodegradable materials that can be harmful to wildlife. Billed as good, “clean” fun, everyone is treated to donuts and beverages.
• Working with the Lake Comegys Association of Homeowners, a former DELDOT right of way around Lake Comegys was converted to a conservation easement.
• Cosponsored Rehoboth Beach community-wide program to address “Rehoboth Beach as a Sustainable Community – How to Preserve the Uniqueness and Address Issues that Come from its Success” featuring noted urban planner Ed McMahon.