DNREC announces plans to dredge Little River near Dover
Project set to improve navigation, enhance access, benefit waterbird habitat
in Little Creek Wildlife Area; temporary road closures to occur
DOVER (July 31, 2015) – DNREC’s Divisions of Watershed Stewardship and Fish & Wildlife today announced plans for a cooperative dredging project on the Little River near Dover, from the Route 9/Bayside Drive bridge in Little Creek east into the Delaware Bay. Dredging is scheduled to begin the second week of August. Southwind Construction of Evansville, Ind., was awarded the contract for the project.
Dredging by the Division of Watershed Stewardship aims to help stimulate the local economy and support public safety by enhancing boater access and improving navigation at low tides in the Little River. The channel is approximately 12,400 feet long and will be dredged to widths of 40 feet in the river portion and 60 feet in the Delaware Bay portion, AND to a depth of 5 feet at average low tide. The Little River was last dredged by the state in 1981-1982.
A secondary benefit of the project is the beneficial use of dredged material to restore and enhance waterbird habitat within the nearby Division of Fish & Wildlife Little Creek Wildlife Area impoundment’s Refuge cell, one of several cells comprising the impoundment divided by dikes to allow for separate management.
Beneficial use material will increase bottom elevations within the impoundment cell to a level that promotes waterfowl and shorebird diverse habitat and food resources, offsetting sinking marsh elevations that have resulted in excessive open water habitat. Impoundment water levels are seasonally managed to provide a variety of habitats to include mudflat habitats for migrating shorebirds and moist soil plants such as Walter’s millet and smartweed whose seeds are eaten by wintering waterfowl. The current low impoundment elevations prevent proper water level management, resulting in minimal moist soil vegetation growth and seed production and a lack of habitat diversity.
The $1.01 million state-funded project includes dredging 79,000 cubic yards of material from the channel, and the removal of 30 derelict piling and a derelict vessel from the waterway near Little Creek.
A pipeline will be placed along an existing road in the Little Creek Wildlife Area to pump dredge material from the river channel into the Refuge impoundment cell. The main road within the wildlife area from the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Hunter Education building to the wildlife viewing tower will be closed for four days while the pipe is installed. The project is not expected to interfere with hunting in the area. Project completion is anticipated by Oct. 1, before peak waterfowl season.
For more information, please contact Delaware Bayshore Habitat Project Manager Jeremey Ashe at 302-735-3601.
This project is part of DNREC’s Delaware Bayshore Initiative, a landscape approach to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat, increase volunteer participation in habitat stewardship projects, enhance low-impact outdoor recreation and ecotourism opportunities, and promote associated environmentally compatible economic development. For more information, click Delaware Bayshore.