Bayshore groups reach out to governor, attorney general

Request made to sign agreement with Army Corps that includes beach and dune restoration
March 23, 2024

Officials in towns along the Atlantic and Delaware Bay coasts in both Sussex and Kent counties are calling on state and federal officials to broker a deal that would shore up the long-term management of Delaware’s beach dune system, a critical defense that serves to protect communities, safeguard public and private investments, and undoubtedly save lives up and down the coast, said Tony Pratt, executive director of the Bay Beach Association.

The Association of Coastal Towns and BBA, comprising local officials from municipalities along the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay coasts, have partnered in writing a letter to Gov. John Carney and Attorney General Kathleen Jennings supporting an earlier plea signed by a bipartisan group of legislators. That letter, from members of the Delaware General Assembly, requests approval of a memorandum of agreement between the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that spells out the responsibilities of both parties for significant beach and dune restoration work along the Delaware Bay shoreline. The MOA would need to be finalized and signed by the governor before the end of this year’s legislative session, which is June 30.

Without such a long-term deal in place, vulnerable communities could be placed at greater risk, especially during the tropical and nor’easter storm seasons that can literally reshape the coast, potentially causing catastrophic damage and loss of life, and threatening the economic engine that powers Delaware’s multibillion-dollar tourism economy, Pratt said.

The partnership represents a milestone for the two groups; it is the first time ACT and BBA have collaborated on an issue of such common and critical importance, Pratt said.

“Our hope here is to lend our voices, in concert with our state lawmakers, to create a chorus that is undeniable and commands the attention of our governor and the attorney general,” said ACT president and Bethany Beach Mayor Rosemary Hardiman.

“Our beaches and coastline, the very lifeblood of our communities, do not exist as singular entities separated by political boundaries. They are one cohesive environment, and they require a cohesive approach and partnership at all levels – local, state and federal – to preserve and protect them for generations to come,” added BBA President Kathleen Lock. “We urge Gov. Carney and Attorney General Jennings to move swiftly in approving the memorandum of agreement with the Corps of Engineers, thereby protecting the people and places that call the Delaware shoreline home.”

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