U.S Senator Tom Carper yesterday joined representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and DNREC’s Tony Pratt to announce that a long-awaited beach replenishment project in Delaware’s Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island will begin this fall.
In January 2016, winter storm Jonas resulted in terrible damage to the protective dunes in Delaware, but most dramatically in Bethany and South Bethany. This damage added to the destruction and beach loss sustained with Hurricane Joaquin in fall 2015 and subsequent nor’easters.
The project will involve dredging sand from approved offshore borrow areas. The sand is pumped through a series of pipes onto the beaches and then graded into a dune and berm template designed to reduce potential damages to infrastructure, businesses and homes.
“What we’ve learned from past storms is that beach replenishment works if we are proactive in protecting our coastline. Our dunes and beaches have stood up to the nastiest storms and protected our homes, businesses, schools and infrastructure,” said Senator Carper, ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.
“Some people may question why we continue to replenish our beaches. Our 21 miles of oceanfront are more than just sand and surf – they generate more than $6.9 billion in coastal tourism annually, employing almost 60,000 people. This is more than 10 percent of Delaware’s workforce. It’s important work that protects not only our community but our economy as well,” he added.
“Some of our most valuable natural resources we have as a state are our beaches,” said Senator Chris Coons. “This is welcome news that we will replenish the coastline from Bethany Beach to Fenwick Island, and I would like to thank the work of the Army Corps of Engineers to see that the erosion would be a major problem not just for tourism but the natural habitat.”
The Corps Philadelphia District received construction funding to move forward with the contracting process to repair the Bethany/South Bethany and Fenwick Island Coastal Storm Damage Reduction projects.
This project is 100 percent federally funded through the Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies program, which enables USACE to repair projects damaged by severe storm events with no cost to the state.