Five Delaware Bay communities set for beach nourishment

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Shoreline and Waterway Management Section is set to begin beach nourishment work in the Pickering Beach, Kitts Hummock, Bowers, South Bowers, and Slaughter Beach communities in early January 2022.

The beach and dune are an important natural line of defense between the Delaware Bay and inland public and private infrastructure, including houses and roads. Also, the Delaware Bay beaches and dunes provide recreational opportunities to residents and visitors and habitat to an array of plants and animals.

The beaches and dunes in sections of these communities ranked high in DNREC’s 2020 assessment of beach vulnerability, and planning has been underway for a small-scale nourishment project since mid-2021.

Additionally, recent beach surveys and monitoring by the Shoreline and Waterway Management Section, together with resident and community feedback, indicate that these communities were among the most impacted by coastal storms that produced widespread damages throughout the Delaware Bay shoreline in October and November.

At South Bowers, beach-quality sand will be dredged from the Murderkill River Inlet and entrance channel and placed on the beach.

The beneficial re-use of dredged material for beach replenishment is a regional sediment management technique that allows sand to remain in the local coastal system and provides cost advantages by producing mutual benefits from a single project.

Site preparation work for the nourishment projects will begin in mid- to late-December, and DNREC anticipates starting nourishment activities in January 2022.

The project will be multi-phased, with individual communities receiving sand at different times based on the availability of sand, personnel, and equipment.