Delaware project to improve shoreline near beach community [video]

 (Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

(Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

One of Delaware’s Bayshore communities will no longer have to deal with flooding and difficult waterways where boaters have experienced problems navigating through due to the buildup of silt and sediment.

Residents on both ends of Bowers Beach will finally see changes, which keep them drier. Sec. Collin O’Mara of the Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control says these changes are much needed. On Monday, plans to improve navigation of the Murderkill River and move forward with the reuse of dredged sand to widen the beach at South Bowers were announced. State legislators and local leaders took a boat tour to get a first hand look, and a better understanding of the project.

The idea of reusing clean dredged sand makes South Bowers more storm resistant and able to deal with coastal storms similar to Sandy.  Officials say the method is cost effective.

“Rather than discarding dredged material at a disposal site, we are using the clean sand to nourish a protective beach here at South Bowers and providing a model that can be replicated up and down the East Coast,” said Sec. O’Mara.

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Bowers and South Bowers are home to the state’s commercial and recreational fishing vessels.  According to American Sportfishing Association, recreational fishing in Delaware totals $150 million annually and commercial fishing brings in about $10 million, making it a very important project to the local economy.

“Improving navigation of the Murderkill River supports our economy, tourism and commercial and recreational fishing,” said Gov. Jack Markell, D-Del., who could not attend the tour.

The project totals $950,000 but there’s state funding to help aid the work.  If things go smoothly the work could be completed by early February.

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