Gov. John Carney, U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester announced Dec. 7 that steps are underway for beach nourishment projects in Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District awarded a contract to Weeks Marine of Cranford, N.J., for $23.8 million to conduct periodic nourishment on three dune and beachfill projects along the Delaware coast. The contract is a joint effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. The costs of the project will be shared by the federal government and the state of Delaware, and has been a priority of the congressional delegation because it will help protect the homes, businesses and the economy on coastal Delaware.
“Delaware is the lowest-lying state in the country, and our coast is vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” said Carney. “While we work to reduce those impacts, we also have to adapt to protect our residents, economy and infrastructure, and beach replenishment is a big part of that effort. Beach replenishment, which is a partnership between the state and federal governments, is necessary to preserve tourism, one of our largest economic sectors, as well as to protect the safety of our communities and residents. Thank you to the members of our congressional delegation for their continued leadership on this vital issue for our state.”
“By replenishing our beaches in Delaware, we not only protect the homes, businesses and vital infrastructure in those communities, but also a big part of our state's $3 billion tourism economy,” said Carper, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “That is why I continue working with my congressional colleagues to ensure Delaware has the resources we need to maintain our coastline for future generations. We can rebuild our beaches in a way that makes them more resilient to extreme weather and other impacts of climate change, and I thank the Army Corps of Engineers for being great partners in this effort.”
“Delaware’s beautiful beaches and coastline aren’t just a vital part of our state’s economy, they’re crucial natural resources that help make us more resilient to climate change and disasters,” said Coons. “As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’m proud to have supported this significant investment in Delaware’s coastline, and I’m thankful for the leadership of the Biden administration and Chairman Carper for helping direct this funding to the Army Corps of Engineers for natural infrastructure projects like these.”
“Delaware’s beaches are some of our most treasured natural heritage and help drive our tourism industry and local economy,” said Blunt Rochester. “I am pleased that next steps are underway in Rehoboth, Dewey, Bethany, South Bethany and Fenwick to replenish our beaches ahead of next summer. We must do all we can to protect our pristine coastline so that it can continue to support our beach communities and our state.”
The contract calls for dredging sand from offshore borrow sites. Sand is then pumped through a series of pipes, placed on beaches and graded into an engineered dune and berm template, which is designed to reduce damages from coastal storm events. The contract includes the following work:
• Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach: In Rehoboth Beach, sand will be placed on the beach in the northern portion of the community (between the city tennis courts on Surf Avenue south to the Bandstand area). In Dewey Beach, sand will be placed on the beach between Saulsbury Street south to Beach Avenue. Estimated sand quantity: Rehoboth Beach – 196,000 cubic yards; Dewey Beach – 194,000 cubic yards
• Bethany Beach and South Bethany: In Bethany Beach, sand will be placed from Third Street south to Wellington Park. In South Bethany Beach, sand will be placed from approximately N. 5th Street south to north end of Fenwick Island State Park. Estimated sand quantity: Bethany Beach – 245,000 cubic yards; South Bethany Beach – 287,000 cubic yards
• Fenwick Island: In Fenwick Island, sand will be placed from approximately Kames Street south to Lighthouse Road. Estimated sand quantity: Fenwick Beach – 207,000 cubic yards.
Dunes and associated beach access points will be repaired in certain areas; however, most of the work includes widening the beach between the toe of the dune and the water line. Depending on the condition of the beach based on surveys, the Army Corps could exercise contract options to place additional sand as part of the project.