Six Delaware Bay communities are slated for beach nourishment work in early January 2022.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Shoreline and Waterway Management Section will do work at Pickering Beach, Kitts Hummock, Bowers, South Bowers, and Slaughter Beach.
The beaches and dunes in sections of these communities ranked high in DNREC’s 2020 assessment of beach vulnerability, and planning has been underway for a small-scale nourishment project since mid-2021.
Additionally, recent beach surveys and monitoring by the Shoreline and Waterway Management Section, together with resident and community feedback, indicate these communities were among the most impacted by coastal storms that produced widespread damages throughout the Delaware Bay shoreline in October and November.
Within each community, DNREC crews will place sand on the sections of the beach and dunes most degraded by erosion and storms. It is not possible to place sand along the entirety of each of the communities during this series of projects, said DNREC spokesman Michael Globetti.
For most communities, the nourishment project will consist of delivering and spreading truck-hauled sand fill from a clean inland source. DNREC expects the cost of sand to be high and availability of sand to be limited compared to past years, due to high demands for the same material from the construction industry, Globetti said.
At South Bowers, beach-quality sand will be dredged from the Murderkill River Inlet and entrance channel, and placed on the beach.
Site-preparation work for the nourishment projects will begin in mid- to late December, and DNREC anticipates starting replenishment in January 2022. The project will be multi-phased, with individual communities receiving sand at different times based on the availability of sand, personnel and equipment.
The truck-haul projects must be completed by April 15 on most of the beaches and by March 1 on Slaughter Beach, when beach and dune construction must end to avoid adverse impacts to fish and wildlife.
Further replenishment for these communities will be considered for fall and winter 2022.