Three Delaware beaches are getting more sand to make up for erosion caused by past storms, Sen. Tom Carper (D) announced Monday.
Many First State beach communities saw the erosive effects of Hurricane Joaquin in 2015 and a major snowstorm in January 2016. But Carper said some were left behind when it came to funding for repairs.
“And between the two of them they did a job on our dune system. North of Bethany Beach, the dunes have been rebuilt and Bethany Beach South they need to be rebuilt, and the state is not in a position to do that,” Carper said.
Carper met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2016 to discuss how Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island could be repaired when the state did not have the funds to do so. Towards the end of the year, he was informed the state had received the funds for beach repair in Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island through the Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies program.
The Army Corps of Engineers will pump sand from the bottom of the ocean floor onto the beach. Spokesman Steve Rochette said they usually do that in three-year cycles for Delaware beaches, but these beaches - including 2.8 miles running from Bethany to South Bethany, and 1.2 miles at Fenwick Island - needed more immediate attention.
“Sometimes there are severe storms and we have to come back in and repair some of the damages as a result,” Rochette said.
The replenishment is welcome news to South Bethany Mayor Pat Voveris.
“The beach is a concern to all of our residents of course because they realize it is the most important reason people come to visit our town and all the coastal towns in Delaware, so protecting that asset is very important,” Voveris said.
It’s also important for property owners along the beach, whose homes are prone to flooding during storms. South Bethany has between 40 to 50 ocean-front properties, Voveris said.
The replenishment is estimated to cost between $15 to $22 million. Rochette said Bethany and South Bethany will be treated as one project, while Fenwick Island will be replenished separately. The projects are planned for this fall.
The last time the three communities got beach replenishment was in 2013, following Hurricane Sandy.