Water quality grant approved in Dewey

$175,000 project going toward Read Avenue flooding
June 19, 2017

Story Location:
Read Avenue
Dewey Beach  Delaware  19971
United States

Dewey Beach has been approved for a grant of about $175,000 to reduce bayside flooding on Read Avenue.

Commissioner Mike Dunmyer made the announcement during the June 9 town council meeting.

In February, town council unanimously approved contributing $35,000 toward the project which calls for a redesign of the riprap, a wall of shell bags, planting of marsh grass, an increase in the size of the dune, installation of a flood barrier at the base of the dune to provide structure and a plunge pool to absorb storm-related flood waters.

The town partnered with the Center for the Inland Bays to write a Delaware Community Water Quality Improvement  application. Emily Seldomridge, former center watershed coordinator, wrote the grant for the project, but she no longer works at the center, and Marianne Walch, project manager, was unavailable for comment.

During the February meeting, Doug Janiec, a senior program manager for Sovereign Consulting Inc., said there would be four mechanisms to reduce wave action from further eroding the shore line – rocks, marsh, beach and then the dune. He added that no one project would alleviate all flooding, but this has the potential to go a long way.

Mayor Dale Cooke said the town would meet with the other groups involved in implementing the project in early July. He said he was glad the much-needed project was finally moving forward.

Dunmyer said the town and the center are still waiting for a NOAA Coastal Resilience Grant, submitted for Sunset Park. This project would include planting marsh grass, a small artificial reef and a wider public beach.

No referendum this year on bayside flooding tax

During its May meeting, Dewey town council agreed to move forward with a process that would bring a referendum to town property owners during the town election in September.

A month later, council decided to hold off on rushing the referendum through for the upcoming election. Instead, commissioners agreed on an education campaign through the fall and winter months of 2017, with the referendum during the September 2018 election.

The referendum would have had two questions – are property owners in favor of the town playing a financial role in mitigating bayside flooding and sea level rise, and, if yes, how much money should the town raise?

Over a year ago, the town agreed to spend $50,000 toward a Surface Water Matching Planning grant from the state. The grant, written by Seldomridge, was created to improve water quality in the state’s impaired watersheds by supporting the planning, preliminary engineering and feasibility analysis of surface water improvement projects and activities

Dunmyer said during the June 9 meeting that Seldomridge told him the planing grant would be done by September. That document, he said, will help with the referendum education process.