Lewes’ eroded beaches to get sand

Storm damage fast-tracks renourishment plan
Hurricane Sandy accelerated beach erosion near Children's Beach House. The state is also working with federal agencies to quickly widen the beach near Cape Shores. BY HENRY J. EVANS JR.
November 15, 2012

Plans to truck in sand and fill severely eroded sections of Lewes beach have been fast-tracked so work can begin as soon as possible.

Areas of beach near Children's Beach House and near the Cape Shores community were severely eroded before Hurricane Sandy brushed Lewes.

“They’re both vulnerable areas, and we identified them as needing more sand two months ago,” said Tony Pratt, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control shoreline administrator.

He said bids to replenish both areas were coming in when Sandy hit causing further damage and delaying the project.

The storm’s high winds combined with several high-tide cycles and a full moon, cut away dune and pulled beach sand into Delaware Bay.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers surveyors had assessed how much sand beaches needed before the storm.

“There’s a higher need now,” said Pratt, declining to estimate how much sand is now needed or how much it might cost because he might not be accurate.

“They’re surveying north of Indian River Inlet Bridge now, and after that they’ll come to Lewes,” he said.

Replenishment should start quickly, Pratt said, to head off further damage.

“Our goal is to bring the beaches to a level of protection that’s much better than they have now,” he said.

Pratt said under emergency conditions, state officials have the authority to cut through red tape and grant permit waivers.

He said obtaining permits for each area should be easy because the same work for both sites has been permitted in the past.

“It’s more or less a routine process,” Pratt said. He said typically, permits would be needed from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service  other federal agencies and DNREC’s Shoreline and Waterway Management and Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands sections.

Pratt said he didn’t want to guess when work would begin, but said he’s sure it would be soon.