Fun Fact Friday About Beach Replenishment Sand And Mines

So I am reading the …


residual mines in delaware, south firing range, north firing range, map of seafloor, atlantic coast, delaware, delmarva, cape henlopen state park, national guard, bethany beach, army corp of engineers
Figure 4-6. Former Firing Range Locations and Other Areas of Concern Along
the Delaware Atlantic Coast.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn …

Once in a while there is an interesting fact in these.  This is my Friday night, so I thought I’d share some of things I learn reading all of these assessments.  This is taken from the assessment itself.  It is about the old firing grounds.  I thought some would find it interesting.  Apparently you shouldn’t anchor in an area due to possible old or residual mines.  Fortunately the sand source for Rehoboth Beach is borrow area B and is not near that (mines), but had to be assessed, and I have to read it.

Several potential environmental concerns associated with the offshore sand borrow areas were identified relating to HTRW, which may involve unknown hazardous waste sites, sunken ships (possibly with weapons), weaponry from WWII shooting ranges, and rubble piles (used to create artificial reefs). No known hazardous waste sites or major spills were identified within the State and Federal databases within 1 mile of the Delaware Coastline. However, the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center reported several occurrences of unknown sheens in Delaware Coastal waters or tar-like substances washed up on Delaware beaches where the origin or substance is unknown (National Response Center, 2001).

There are no known radioactive sites within three miles of the coast. One experimental stabilized coal waste fish reef lies approximately 1.5 miles southeast of Indian River Inlet. This reef contains 250 tons of stabilized coal waste blocks along with 90 tons of concrete control blocks that were placed within a 75-foot long by 60-foot wide area (Eklund, 1988). This reef is not within the boundaries of any existing or proposed sand source.

Rehoboth Beach Replenishment Project, delaware, sussex county, cape henlopen state park, dewey beach
Rehoboth Beach Replenishment Project started today

No known ocean dumpsites were identified within the sand source areas or in the immediate vicinity of the borrow areas or sand placement areas. However, a historic sewage sludge dump area existed approximately 16 miles off of the Delaware Coast (Rehoboth Beach). This site was used mainly by the City of Philadelphia for the disposal of municipal sewage sludge from 1961 to 1973. Dumping at this site was discontinued because it was determined to be a potential threat to existing commercial surfclam beds and shellfish beds located south and west of the site (Muir, 1983 and Buelow et al. 1968).

HCS is the nearest (previously proposed) borrow site at approximately 13 miles from this site, and Area B is approximately 13.6 miles from the site. Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) Two former artillery-firing ranges have historically occupied tracts of land along the Delaware Atlantic Coast (Figure 4-6). One range occupied a 275-acre portion of beach area north of Indian River Inlet in the present Delaware Seashore State Park, and was known as the North Firing Range.

Rehoboth Beach Replenishment Project, delaware, sussex county, bethany beach, dewey beach, cape henlopen state park, striped bass, fall run, rockfish, shore break dangerous, surf rider foundation
Rehoboth Beach Replenishment Project started today

The second range occupied a 108-acre tract of land south of South Bethany in present day Fenwick Island State Park, and was known as the South Firing Range. These ranges were associated with the former military installation of Fort Miles, which is 4-20 now Cape Henlopen State Park. These areas have been the subjects of investigations conducted under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program for Formerly Used Defense Sites (DERP-FUDS). Both ranges were utilized as artillery ranges by the Delaware National Guard from 1950 – 1959.

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In 1959, control of the Delaware National Guard was transferred from the Department of the Army to the State of Delaware. There were no indications of usage of the North Range after 1959. However, the South Range received continued use as an artillery range by the Delaware National Guard until 1970 and then as a small Figure 4-6. Former Firing Range Locations and Other Areas of Concern Along the Delaware Atlantic Coast. 4-21 arms range until at least 1974. The South Firing Range was previously used to conduct surface-to-air firing at radio-controlled aerial targets by self-propelled 40- mm air defense artillery weapons. Also the area was used for surface-to-surface firing with 40-mm artillery and for practice tests of target detection of high performance aircraft.

Rehoboth Beach Replenishment Project started today
Rehoboth Beach Replenishment Project started today

The North Artillery Range, which is part of the Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) program (C03DE006402), is about 6,000 feet to the north of the beachfill project boundary for IRI North Shore. This site is approximately 364 acres in size, and was used as an automatic weapons firing point for anti-aircraft target practice by the U.S. Army. This site is now part of Delaware Seashore State Park. A Site Inspection Report (USACE, 2010) investigated the potential for munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) and munitions constituents (MC) at the site. The types of munitions identified in this report that were likely used at this range include small arms, 40 mm HE (high explosive) HEI (high explosive incendiary), Mark II and 3.25 –inch target rockets, MK1. After a thorough inspection of the property, which included sampling the soils and sediments for explosives and explosive residues and metals, this investigation concluded that the land portion of this site has no reports of MEC or MD (munitions debris) that are known to exist; and surface soil, subsurface soil and sediment analyses yielded no explosive MC detections.

This report further concluded that no Chemicals of Potential Concern (COPC) or Chemicals of Potential Ecological Concern (COPEC) were identified in any of the media at this site. A portion of the HCS site lies within the northern edge of the North Firing Range envelope. Area B lies entirely within the North Firing Range envelope, and Area G is situated outside of both ranges, but lies between the outside boundaries of both ranges. The South Firing Range may also have been used as a firing range for M60 Machine guns, M79 Grenade Launchers, and 45 caliber submachine guns.

beach replenishment, rehoboht beach, dewey beach, delaware, sussex county,
Project goes on all night long

A 1950 memorandum from the Department of the Army to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey indicated that firing was conducted in the South Firing Range utilizing 90-mm and 120-mm projectiles, and the North Firing Range was used as an “Automatic Weapons Area” during the 1950s. Area E lies entirely within the impact area of this range and the northern half of the Fenwick Island Borrow Area lies within the southern border of this range.

Because of the presence of these ranges along the Delaware Atlantic Coast, there exists a high potential for encountering MEC’s when dredging within these offshore borrow areas. This high potential was evident in previous beach nourishment project where live ammunition rounds and munitions debris have been discovered on nourished beaches prompting calls for Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams and a detect and removal project in the Bethany Beach/South Bethany areas.

Because MECs present a significant hazard to the public and beachfill crew, 4-22 the Philadelphia District has required that screens be placed on intakes on all dredges and basket screens on the beach pump-out locations to minimize the potential for these items becoming entrained in the dredge and being pumped out on to the beaches. Additionally, crews trained in MEC monitoring and safety protocols provide 24-hour support during dredging operations. This has been the practice since 2005 on all beach nourishment projects along the Delaware Atlantic Coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Cape Henlopen to Indian River Inlet Soundings Map indicates an area approximately three miles off the coast that has been designated a danger zone (Figure 4-6). Ocean-going vessels are permitted to navigate in this zone, however, all vessels are cautioned not to anchor, dredge, trawl, lay cable, or conduct any other activity that involves disturbing the substrate due to the potential danger from mines being buried within the substrate. The HCS sand borrow source is located in close proximity to this area; however, it is outside of this area. Areas B and G are also outside of this area.


Now I need a beer or some sleep!  This document is huge and takes a while to read.  I just  thought some of you would find that information interesting.  Have a nice weekend.

Fish On!
Rich King

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