Beach Nourishment Projects Set for Pickering Beach, Kitts Hummock, Bowers, South Bowers, and Slaughter Beach

Dover (Dec 10, 2021) … The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Shoreline and Waterway Management Section expects to begin beach nourishment work in the Pickering Beach, Kitts Hummock, Bowers, South Bowers, and Slaughter Beach communities in early January 2022.

Beach nourishment projects introduce sand into the shoreline system to offset the effects of erosion. The beach and dune are an important natural line of defense between the Delaware Bay and inland public and private infrastructure, including houses and roads. The Delaware Bay beaches and dunes also provide recreational opportunities to residents and visitors and habitat to an array of plants and animals.

The beaches and dunes in sections of these communities ranked high in DNREC’s 2020 assessment of beach vulnerability, and planning has been underway for a small-scale nourishment project since mid-2021. Additionally, recent beach surveys and monitoring by the Shoreline and Waterway Management Section, together with resident and community feedback, indicate these communities were among the most impacted by coastal storms that produced widespread damages throughout the Delaware Bay shoreline in October and November.

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Sand being delivered for the beach replenishment in Lewes.

Within each community, DNREC crews will place sand on the sections of the beach and dunes most degraded by erosion and storms. It is not possible to place sand along the entirety of each of the communities during this series of projects.

For most communities, the nourishment project will consist of delivering and spreading truck-hauled sand fill from a clean inland source. DNREC expects the cost of sand to be high and availability of sand to be limited compared to past years, due to high demands for the same material from the construction industry. 

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At South Bowers, beach-quality sand will be dredged from the Murderkill River Inlet and entrance channel and placed on the beach. The beneficial re-use of dredged material for beach replenishment is a regional sediment management technique that allows sand to remain in the local coastal system and provides cost advantages by producing mutual benefits from a single project.

Site preparation work for the nourishment projects will begin in mid- to late-December, and DNREC anticipates starting nourishment activities in January 2022. The project will be multi-phased, with individual communities receiving sand at different times based on the availability of sand, personnel, and equipment.

The truck-haul projects must be completed by April 15 on most of the beaches and by March 1 on Slaughter Beach, when beach and dune construction must end to avoid adverse impacts to fish and wildlife. Further replenishment for these communities will be considered for fall/winter of 2022.

More information about the work of the Shoreline and Waterway Management Section can be found on the DNREC website.

More links to check out on beach nourishment which is really replenishment.
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