Beach nourishment continues along the Delaware Bay

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is set to continue beach nourishment along the Delaware Bay.

Under the plan, the Pickering Beach nourishment project and others in Delaware Bay communities to be undertaken this year by DNREC will be funded in large part by the American Rescue Plan.

Funds totaling $1.3M will be used by the Shoreline and Waterway Management Section for deploying small nourishment projects along the Bay beaches to include Pickering Beach, Kitts Hummock, and Cape Shores, in addition to Atlantic Ocean nourishment work at Delaware Seashore State Park’s North Inlet Day Use Area.

Work this fall and into winter is expected to lengthen the beach and dune life of a DNREC project that spanned five Bay beach communities and was completed last winter.

“Money from the American Rescue Plan enables us to continue performing these small-scale nourishment efforts both to further fortify some of the more vulnerable sections of Bay beach shoreline and to reinforce the work we’ve recently done in these communities,” said Jesse Hayden, DNREC Shoreline and Waterway Section administrator.

While DNREC’s beach nourishment projects introduce sand into the shoreline system to offset the effects of erosion, the Pickering Beach and Kitts Hummock projects aim more to strengthen – and lengthen – the life of the projects completed last winter in the same communities.

“Coastal storms will continue to impact our coast, so having the opportunity to supplement some of the most vulnerable areas even after all of the work we did last year means we will be better prepared for the next storm,” said Hayden.

Because both the Delaware Bay and Atlantic beaches and dunes also provide crucial habitat for migrating shorebirds, including several threatened species, and other wildlife such as spawning horseshoe crabs, DNREC beach nourishment projects ordinarily are not permitted to begin until Oct. 1 each year, and must be completed by April 15 at most beaches, or by March 1 at others.

The Bay beach nourishment projects beginning this month are expected to be completed far ahead of those 2023 deadlines.

Photo: DNREC