DNREC Works Into Fall on Beach Nourishment Projects

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is set to continue beach nourishment along the Delaware Bay when the DNREC Shoreline and Waterway Management Section begins a month-long project Monday, Oct. 17 at Pickering Beach in Kent County that will bring some 3,500 cubic yards of sand trucked in from local sources to cover 2,500 feet of community beachfront.

The Pickering Beach nourishment project and others in Delaware Bay communities to be undertaken this year by DNREC are funded in large part by the American Rescue Plan. Funds totaling $1.3 million will be used by the Shoreline and Waterway Management Section for deploying small nourishment projects along the Bay beaches to include Pickering Beach, Kitts Hummock, and Cape Shores, in addition to Atlantic Ocean nourishment work at Delaware Seashore State Park’s North Inlet Day Use Area. Work this fall and into winter is expected to lengthen the beach and dune life of a DNREC nourishment project that spanned five Bay beach communities and was completed last winter.

“Money from the American Rescue Plan enables us to continue performing these small-scale nourishment efforts both to further fortify some of the more vulnerable sections of Bay beach shoreline and to reinforce the work we’ve recently done in these communities,” said Jesse Hayden, DNREC Shoreline and Waterway Section administrator.

While DNREC’s beach nourishment projects introduce sand into the shoreline system to offset the effects of erosion, the Pickering Beach and Kitts Hummock projects aim more to strengthen – and lengthen the life of – the projects completed last winter in the same communities.

“Coastal storms will continue to impact our coast, so having the opportunity to supplement some of the most vulnerable areas even after all of the work we did last year means we will be better prepared for the next storm,” said Hayden.

Because both the Delaware Bay and Atlantic beaches and dunes also provide crucial habitat for migrating shorebirds, including several threatened species, and other wildlife such as spawning horseshoe crabs, DNREC beach nourishment projects ordinarily are not permitted to begin until Oct. 1 each year, and must be completed by April 15 at most beaches, or by March 1 at others. The Bay beach nourishment projects beginning this month are expected to be completed far ahead of those 2023 deadlines.

Delivery of material by DNREC’s sand vendor Pennsy Supply will begin in Pickering Beach on the project start date listed above, while delivery from ML Joseph Sand and Gravel to the Delaware Seashore State Park project site is expected to begin by early November. Construction at Pickering Beach is planned for four weeks, weather-dependent, and with work occurring during DNREC standard business hours Monday through Thursday. The beach will be closed during construction activity but will be open Friday through Sunday for the duration of the project. Visitors should anticipate partial closures of the beach at Delaware Seashore State Park’s North Inlet Day Use Area while heavy equipment is on site during standard business hours Monday through Thursday.

More information about the work of the DNREC Shoreline and Waterway Management Section can be found at de.gov/shoreline. More information on beach nourishment in Delaware is available from Outdoor Delaware magazine, de.gov/outdoordelaware.

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