White Creek dredging project to resume in the fall

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has announced that due to contractor delay the White Creek priority dredging project in Sussex County will not be completed this season.


The project was initially scheduled for completion March 31 to comply with existing seasonal dredging restrictions established to protect wildlife and natural resources.

Although dredging was scheduled to begin in early 2023 to avoid any conflict with these environmental restrictions, the project contractor delayed the start of dredging for more than four weeks, pushing the completion date beyond the scheduled deadline. Accordingly, dredging will proceed until the March 31 cutoff and then resume in the fall, said DNREC in the release.

DNREC also added that a section of the Assawoman Canal – 1,200 linear feet – was dredged before the February 28 cutoff in that waterway for environmental restrictions, as was a high-traffic boating area where White Creek meets the Assawoman Canal.

On March 1, the contractor moved their equipment to the western prong of White Creek, to be followed by dredging of the waterway’s eastern prong, with both expected to be completed by the March 31 environmental restriction deadline for White Creek.

DNREC’s Shoreline and Waterway Management Section is working to develop a solution that will enable DNREC to complete as much of the project as possible before the March 31 cutoff, while reiterating that the restrictions are in place to ensure the continued enjoyment of outdoor recreation and natural resources by current and future generations of Delawareans and the state’s coastal visitors.

The White Creek dredging project encompasses a portion of the Assawoman Canal. Both waterways have been at the top of DNREC’s prioritized list for dredging since 2020, when the maintenance dredging of a third Sussex waterway, Massey’s Ditch, was completed.

After DNREC’s announcement of the project last December, Sussex County Council approved a cooperative agreement with DNREC to contribute $1 million toward the $4.685 million cost of the White Creek project, with the remainder to be paid by the State of Delaware and DNREC.