A resiliency grant application, if approved, would provide funding to design and secure permits for a living shoreline and stormwater retrofit around Sunset Park in Dewey Beach.
Town commissioners gave Center for the Inland Bays Science and Restoration Coordinator Dr. Marianne Walch the go-ahead March 30 to apply for an $82,000 grant request through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The grant would not cover construction costs, Walch said, but would provide plans to stabilize roughly 800 feet of severely eroded shoreline along Rehoboth Bay from Sunset Park on Dagsworthy Avenue, around Ivy and Northbeach, and including the marsh in front of the Dewey Beach Lions Club on McKinley Avenue.
Sunset Park and the adjacent marsh area have experienced severe erosion due to wind and wave activity along with inadequate stormwater infrastructure, Walch said. Since 2005, the macadam paving at the end of Dagsworthy Avenue has disappeared into the bay at a rate of about two feet a year, she said.
Project plans would restore 1.5 acres of tidal wetlands, improve aging infrastructure, reduce pollutants flowing into the bay, and create habitats for fish, shellfish, crabs and birds, Walch said. Sunset Park would be an improved amenity for residents and visitors, she added.
The total cost for project design and permitting is $155,000. The town agreed to a $50,000 cash match, and Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, and Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, each pledged $10,000 in Community Transportation Funds, Walch said. Delaware Department of Transportation and the Town of Dewey Beach would provide remaining funding as in-kind contributions, she said.
The town and CIB applied for the same grant in 2020 but didn’t receive funding, Walch said. It typically takes multiple submissions to receive funding, she said, and the proposal has been fine-tuned. Grant recipients will be notified in November, Walch said, and if approved, the project will begin in early 2022.