Governor John Carney, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, along with Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester announced that next steps are underway in the long awaited beach replenishment projects in Bethany, South Bethany and Fenwick Island. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District has awarded Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company a $17.2 million contract and work is expected to begin after the New Year. The costs of the project will be shared by the federal government and the state of Delaware, and has been a priority of the Congressional delegation because it will help protect the homes, businesses and economy on coastal Delaware.
The beaches and dunes were damaged by strong storms, including a Nor’easter in October of 2015 and Hurricane Joaquin in January of 2016. The project will involve dredging 1.2 million cubic yards of sand from approved offshore borrow areas. The sand is pumped through a series of pipes onto the beaches of Bethany, South Bethany and Fenwick Island and then graded into a dune and berm template designed to reduce potential damages to infrastructure, businesses and homes.
“Replenishing our beaches helps drive our economy by keeping our coastline accessible and accommodating for Delawareans and visitors. Delaware also is the lowest-lying state in the U.S., and beach replenishment helps us prepare for extreme weather events, sea level rise, and other effects of climate change,” said Governor Carney. “We are grateful to the Army Corps of Engineers for partnering with Delaware to ensure that beach replenishment for Bethany, South Bethany and Fenwick Island both bolsters our coastline and helps retain its natural beauty. I worked as Delaware’s congressman to bring attention and resources to this project, and want to thank members of our federal delegation for their continued leadership on this issue.”
“We’ve learned that by proactively building up our dunes and beaches, they can stand up protect our homes, businesses, schools and infrastructure from the nastiest storms,” said Senator Carper, ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “Delaware’s 21 miles of oceanfront are more than just sand and surf – they generate more than $6.9 billion in coastal tourism annually and 10 percent of Delaware’s workforce. We fought hard for this funding because beach replenishment protects not only our community but our economy as well.”
“Some of our most valuable natural resources we have as a state are our beaches,” said Senator 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.”
“Delaware beaches serve as engines of economic growth and areas of relaxation not just for our state, but for people across the country,” said U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester. “The welcome news of beach replenishment in Bethany, South Bethany, and Fenwick this fall will ensure they maintain the necessary upkeep to prepare for future storms and preserve our miles of pristine coastline.”