Sand Relocation As Seen From Above
Every winter while the beaches are clear of tourists, DNREC moves sand from the southside of the inlet to the northside of the inlet. The ocean currents along the coast push sand north starting around Fenwick Island. The Indian River Inlet is in the way of this sand migrating north. We get federal money to move the sand from one side of the inlet too the other.
The pipe that pumps the sand on the beach is supposed to be in the surf line to help rebuild the sand bars. Usually it is just pumping sand onto the beach, to rebuild what the storms have taken out.
Patrick Hendrickson of Highcamera Aerial Photographic Service took these two shots of the sand relocation. The plume from the pipe pumping sand onto the beach is very prominent. The sand relocation process is necessary or the inlet would fill in every year more so than it already does each year.
Sand is moved by a dredge on the big red crane, from the southside of the inlet and then pumped via the black pipe that runs along the Charles W Cullen bridge. The sand is then pumped onto the beach. Technically it is supposed to be pumped into the water at the surf line to rebuild the sand bars. That is the same location roughly the Masseys ditch dredge project will pump sand in the fall, we hope.
without the sand relocation the southside inlet beach would overflow into the inlet. Causing shoaling that would eventually need to be dredged.
You can see the heavy shoaling in the back bay area just outside of the inlet area. That is what needs to be dredged next.