Erosion threatens Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse in Lewes

Aging structure needs immediate and critical care
August 19, 2019

Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation offered a tour Aug. 2 to give the public a close-up view of the erosion and the crumbling base of the 93-year-old Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse.

Sen. Tom Carper, Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, and Lewes Mayor Ted Becker along with U.S Army Corps of Engineers representatives observed firsthand the effects of erosion and learned about the goals of the foundation. 

The last keeper to work on the light, Bill Harris, shared his experience, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers explained the required repairs. 

The Point at Cape Henlopen is growing. Shifts in the current are causing the sea floor to shift, and the boulders that support the lighthouse are falling away, Corps of Engineers operational manager Dan Kelly said. 

The erosion is caused by the shrinking distance between the Point and the foot of the breakwater, causing a deepening of the water in the channel. 

The changing sea floor causes the rocks to tumble. Foundation President Red Moulinier said the changes observed over the past eight years are dramatic. 

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