How Ready Will Del. Beaches Be By Memorial Day?
A new phase of beach restoration is about to get underway in Delaware, as the state also addresses erosion and dune damage caused by the recent storm.
According to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources, five beach nourishment projects have been completed along Delaware Bay beaches.
DNREC’s Shoreline team also continues to focus on communities that were impacted by the early May Nor’Easter and to make them accessible for the summer. DNREC plans to partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a restoration program that covers the majority of the state’s coastline. Recovery work will begin in South Bethany and proceed northward.
“Our Shoreline team will be hard at it for the foreseeable future on beach restoration priorities that this storm handed us,” Delaware Natural Resources Secretary Shawn Garvin said. “While restoring the beaches will not be instant nor easy, we are confident of surmounting the challenge ahead. We’re working on making the state’s beaches accessible and in shape for the summer. Of course, we also welcome the communities’ help in restoring the beaches just as they – and we – value our federal partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers when expected beach nourishment projects begin in a number of these communities as early as next fall.”
U.S. Senator Tom Carper, D-Del., said Monday that the Senate is ready to consider the Water Resources Development Act, a bipartisan measure that would help in situations such as storm recovery at the beaches. Carper visited South Bethany Beach for an inspection of damaged caused by the storm ten days ago. He was joined by officials from the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources.
“The damage done to our beaches by the recent nor’easter makes clear that robust federal, state and local partnerships are needed now more than ever,” Carper said. “I have been fighting to give one of our key federal partners in this effort – the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – several new beach restoration tools in the 2022 Water Resources Development Act legislation. Among the provisions in the bill are: emergency authority to allow the Corps to help restore beaches in the aftermath of storms; a requirement that the federal government pay 90% of the costs of the Bay Beach nourishment project; and a reorientation of the Corps’ civil works program to proactively address climate change and streamline the implementation of shoreline protection and restoration projects. The state of Delaware should be able to count on the support of the Corps and other federal agencies to help restore our beaches and make sure our communities are protected.”
“The long duration of the storm and the post-storm wind direction mean we may not see a rapid natural rebuilding of the beach,” DNREC Shoreline and Waterway Section administrator Jesse Hayden said. “The dunes did their job protecting our communities from being inundated, but by absorbing the impact of the storm they suffered damage that affects people’s ability to access the beach. Our immediate goal is restore as much safe beach access in as many communities as possible so that beachgoers can enjoy a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. Our partners are a big part of that.”
More information about the work of the DNREC Shoreline and Waterway Management Section can be found at de.gov/shoreline. More information on beach nourishment in Delaware available from Outdoor Delaware, de.gov/outdoordelaware.