U.S. Senate Panel Approves Nearly $6 Million for Delaware Beaches and Watershed Studies

GEORGETOWN, DE – The Senate Appropriations Committee approved nearly $6 million for Delaware beaches and watershed studies, Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper announced today. The appropriations will help fund beach replenishment, protect Pea Patch Island from erosion, and protect and restore the waterway along the Christina Riverfront. The funding is substantially more than the amount President Bush requested in his FY03 budget, though it is within the budget framework set by the Senate Budget Committee. “Securing this vital funding is a good first step toward protecting our environment and natural resources,” said Senator Biden. “The condition of our beaches, coastline and waterways is key to our state’s economy. The money in this bill represents a long-term investment in Delaware that has immeasurable return to our state and enhances the quality of life for everyone who lives in this region.” “Delaware’s beaches are important to our families, our state’s economy and our nation. Our beaches are engines that drive our state’s economic growth,” said Carper. “The money approved by the Senate will help protect the beauty of our beaches and alleviate the erosion that threatens our shores.” The Energy and Water Appropriations bill includes:

  • $3,000,000 for the Rehoboth/Dewey Beach Replenishment Project ($2 million more than requested by President Bush)
  • $1,200,000 for Lewes/Roosevelt Inlet ($ 700,000 more than requested by President Bush)
  • $294,000 for Indian River Inlet Sand Bypass
  • $314,000 for Study of Fenwick Island beach project ($214,000 more than requested by President Bush)
  • $300,000 for Christina River Watershed Study ($200,000 more than requested by President Bush)
  • $325,000 for Delaware River Watershed Study ($225,000 more than requested by President Bush)
  • $500,000 for Pea Patch Island erosion control (Not included in President Bush’s budget)

Pea Patch Island is a 228-acre park located off the coast of Delaware City that houses Fort Delaware and Delaware’s oldest state park. The island, with its fort, seawall and other archeological remains, is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Erosion problems have plagued the island’s seawall over the last few years, threatening the Fort. The appropriations will help fund the mitigation erosion. The watershed studies will address the water resource needs in the Delaware River Basin and the Christina River. The economic development underway at the Christina Riverfront includes new retail outlets, a light rail system and the creation of an urban wildlife refuge. It will evaluate current conditions and make recommendations for improving water management on the Delaware River in order to protect environmental quality. The study will be closely coordinated with local watershed councils and the public.