WILMINGTON, Del. – Today, Governor John Carney, U.S Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, along with Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.) 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.
These beaches and dunes were damaged by strong storms, including a Nor’easter in October of 2015 and Winter Storm 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 protect our homes, businesses, schools and infrastructure from the nastiest storms,” said Senator Carper, top Democrat on 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 support 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.”
“Delaware’s most valuable natural resources are our beautiful beaches and shorelines,” said Senator Coons. “The work that will take place from Bethany Beach to Fenwick Island is vital to our state, and I would like to thank the Army Corps of Engineers and DNREC for working to mitigate future erosion that not only threatens our tourism, but our natural habitat as well.”
“Our beaches are some of Delaware’s most treasured natural resources and an important economic driver for our state’s economy,” said Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester. “I am pleased that next steps are underway in Bethany, South Bethany, and Fenwick to replenish our beaches ahead of next summer. We need to protect our shores from future superstorms and preserve our pristine coastline for generations of Delawareans to come.”