Major beach replenishment funding approved for Delaware

File/WHYY

File/WHYY

More than one million cubic yards of sand will be pumped onto beaches in Bethany, South Bethany and Fenwick Island to repair damage caused by recent storms.The beaches and dunes were damaged by multiple storms including Hurricane Joaquin in 2015 and a Nor’easter in January of 2016. Delaware’s southernmost beaches will be fortified with sand piped in from offshore, now that the Army Corps of Engineers has approved $17.2 million in funding for the project.

“Replenishing our beaches helps drive our economy by keeping our coastline acceptable and accommodating for Delawareans and visitors,” said Gov. John Carney, D-Delaware. As the lowest-lying state in the U.S., Carny said protecting the state’s beaches is a priority. “Beach replenishment helps us prepare for extreme weather events, sea level rise, and other effects of climate change.”

After pumping 1.2 million cubic yards of sand onto the beaches, the sand will then be graded into a dune and berm shape to reduce the damage future storms could cause to homes and businesses. The beaches will be widened to more than 200 feet along approximately four miles of coastline.

“We’ve learned that by proactively building up our dunes and beaches, they can stand up, protect our homes, businesses, schools and infrastructure from the nastiest storms,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware. Carper, who is also the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said the investment in sand will help protect the state’s economy. “Delaware’s 21 miles of oceanfront are more than just sand and surf- they generate more than $6.9 billion in coastal tourism annually and 10 percent of Delaware’s workforce.”

The work is expected to begin in early 2018.

When Hurricane Jose passed offshore Delaware last month, a dune was breached just south of Dewey Beach forcing DelDOT to close Rt. 1 between Dewey and Bethany. Crews patched the breach and the water receded.

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