Feds Say No To Beach Replenishment For Some Delaware Beaches


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Tony Pratt (center) explaining to Governor Jack Markell about the dune rebuilding in Dewey Beach. To Tony’s left is DNREC Secretary David Small

Today Governor Jack Markell visited Dewey Beach to see the dune rebuilding project that DNREC is working diligently on.  The Army Corp Of Engineers informed Delaware that there isn’t any money for beach replenishment for Bethany Beach to Fenwick Island.  These beaches were hit hard and the dunes are about gone leaving the towns vulnerable if there is another bad nor’easter and in some areas just a mild nor’easter.   Right now DNREC is pushing sand from the surf into the dunes, building a slope to the beach with what is available in Dewey Beach, Fenwick Island, and South Bethany Beach.  This will help reinforce the dune’s face.  There are a few other areas DNREC hopes to get to soon. Everyone is a little concerned about next week’s potential storm.  This is a large project and could take a little while.  Today the bulldozers were pushing sand up the dunes in an area of Dewey Beach near Collins street just north of the breach at Beach avenue.  Dewey Beach does have money for replenishment but not enough for a full-blown project.  I spoke with Tony Pratt and he said it will be a few months until permits for a borrow pit can be completed to work on Rehoboth and Dewey Beach.  He said it could take up to a year and a half until Bethany to Fenwick Island can be replenished.  In the mean time DNREC is planning to keep rebuilding dunes by bulldozing sand and pushing it up the beach from the surf line.  This will be a temporary fix, but will help protect the properties and towns behind the dunes.  I know many business owners are worried  that the beaches will not appeal to tourists, but we have to work with what we have available.  If you have ever been here in the summer, I don’t think smaller beaches are going to stop the influx of tourists.  In fact the better swimming and such might be more of an attraction.  The full moon tides will be an issue at high tide, but we will have to see how the beaches rebuild naturally over the next few months.  I honestly don’t think that DNREC will be able to have the ACOE replenish areas until the fall at this rate, but that is just my opinion.  Governor Markell is asking the federal government for emergency funds (2.5 million) to help rebuild the dunes from what sand we have available, rebuild walkways, accesses, and repair or replace the dune fences that washed out in storm Jonas.




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Bulldozers moving sand up to the dune line building a slope to the dunes in Dewey Beach.

The beaches are flat, the surf structure is amazing looking, and any surf fishermen worth their salt is excited to see how the fish will react to this new structure.  When I visited the beach today with DNREC, DEMA, Governor Markell, and  several state representatives you could see the surf break was like nothing anyone has seen in a long time.  It reminded every one of the beaches when we were kids.  Nice breaking waves moving across troughs and sand bars and gently breaking on the beach.  Not the pounding surf we have had for many years.  Mitch King of Dewey Beach also our Helly Hansen team photographer and DSF storm chaser, looked at the waves and said to several representatives and Secretary David Small … “Look at the surf, it is perfect to fish, swim and surf, you have to leave it like that, please leave it like that.  Rebuild the dunes but leave the surf alone, I haven’t seen it like this since I was a kid.”  That has been the general consensus of many people, especially those that fish and surf.  The waves are perfect for surfing and swimming, the sandbars are closer and the waves are safer.   Personally I can’t wait to see what the fishing structure looks like in a couple of months.  right now it is perfect but nothing is running, that will change soon enough.  I am hoping the fish think the same and visit the beach.

Fish On!!

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Rich King

dnrec, delaware, sussex county, dune rebuilding, beach replenishment, dewey beach, bethany beach, fenwick island, south bethany, rehoboth beach
Big earth mover in the surf
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DNREC posing with Governor Jack Markell after thanking them for thier diligent work fixing up and cleaning the beaches
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House on Dewey Beach that washed out during the storm
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Row of houses on Dewey Beach that were washed out during storm Jonas.
Bulldozer moving sand up the new sloped beach in Dewey Beach.
Bulldozer moving sand up the new sloped beach in Dewey Beach.


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