Governor Markell, DE’s Congressional Delegation and Army Corps Announce Beach Restoration Project

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – Today, Governor Jack Markell, Delaware’s Congressional Delegation of U.S. Sens. Carper and Coons and Representative John Carney (all D-Del.) and Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara announced that as much as $30 million in federal funding has been secured to rebuild Delaware beaches to protect homes, businesses and roads against future storm damage. Major storms like Superstorm Sandy proved the importance and resiliency of a strong beach and dune system in protecting lives, property and infrastructure along the Delaware coastline.

“Because we are a low-lying state, extreme storms pose a real threat to us,” said Governor Markell. “Citizens, businesses and infrastructure are affected when an area floods. My thanks goes to our Congressional delegation for securing the funding that’s allowing us to restore damaged beaches and dunes and shore up our vulnerable areas so we can mitigate the potential impact of future storms.”

The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) received funding through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 to restore Delaware beaches to pre-Superstorm Sandy conditions. Almost two million cubic yards of sand will be pumped back onto Delaware beaches. The ACOE also received the necessary funding through Flood Control & Coastal Emergencies (FCCE) to restore Delaware beaches to their design templates, which means the beach just north of the Indian River Inlet will be restored with a full beach and dune that can be maintained by the sand bypass system.

“Yesterday was the six-month anniversary of Superstorm Sandy and while Delaware did not have the severe damage that our neighbors to the north experienced, Delaware did see widespread flooding that caused damage to many of our homes and businesses,” Senator Carper said. “Roads and bridges were damaged or washed out, hurting commerce and transportation and cutting off access to hospitals, schools and work. I am so pleased that we are not only going to repair our beaches, but that the Corps is going to construct a truly protective beach and dune. It’s a smart investment to reduce potential losses and protect lives, homes, businesses and infrastructure.”

“As Delawareans, beaches are at the heart of our communities,” Senator Coons said. “Storms and rising sea levels can cause severe erosion, and we have to remain vigilant in order to ensure we have the best possible protections in place. As we saw when Superstorm Sandy hit in October, sound management and flood protection measures on our beaches prevented devastating damage, and now we have to be ready before the next storm hits. Today marks an important step in our storm recovery, and reiterates our commitment to maintaining vibrant, healthy beach communities along our coastline.”

“As we mark six months since Superstorm Sandy, we are reminded that even though Delaware was spared the widespread damage that occurred in neighboring states, it is important to keep investments in place that will protect our homes, businesses, and infrastructure from serious damage in the future,” said Congressman Carney. “This funding also supports beach tourism, which contributes greatly to Delaware’s economy and supports thousands of jobs. With Memorial Day fast approaching, I’m looking forward to another successful year at Delaware’s beaches.”

While repairing and strengthening our beaches is vital to maintaining and growing Delaware’s $6.9 billion a year coastal economy, Delaware’s Congressional Delegation and Governor Markell have been working to ensure that federal dollars are used to mitigate damage from future storms.

“Delaware is one of the most proactive states in the nation in completing ocean beach nourishment projects,” said Sec. O’Mara. “Our successful projects have demonstrated that advanced preparation pays off. These beach nourishment projects will bring Delaware’s ocean coastline back to the level of protection from floods and storms we had prior to Superstorm Sandy.”