Posted on April 12, 2023
Beaches along Delaware’s coast are being eaten away by climate change and erosion.
But new funding could help create a solution before things get worse. Lawmakers and community members discussing plans today in Slaughter Beach. “They’re all just bandaids, we need that real nourishment,” said Bob Wood, Slaughter Beach Mayor.
Slaughter Beach is just one of Delaware’s bay beaches that has secured $25,000,000 in funding for bay restoration projects. “So the big thing here is to try and get ahead of the game before we have a disaster occurs we have to proactively reinforce our defenses against some of the other storms,” says Tony Pratt, a consultant for the Bay Beach Association.
Slaughter Beach, Mayor Bob Wood says this funding comes right on time as the weather starts to warm up, however, residents are still afraid their homes could be destroyed. “They’re both about 85 and they’re just every time there’s a storm, they’re scared,” the Mayor adds.
In order to strengthen the beach support, Bay Beach Association officials are taking preventative measures. “That we will probably see a tremendous widening of both the beach and the dune itself, planning the dune grass and better crossovers that are stabilized so that it becomes a proper barrier again,” Pratt said.
In total, the funding will help restore 27 miles of Delaware’s bay beaches through the Water Resources Development Act of 2022. “A marriage between state and local government, there’s a major goal for the federal government to play and a major role for communities to play to say you can’t really make the ocean go away and drop down but we can do a lot to slow down the effects of sea level rise,” says Senator Carper.
Slaughter Beach Mayor Bob Wood says the beach was last replenished in 2004. He says thanks to good engineering the sand lasted for quite a while. With this new effort, the non federal partner cost share will have to come up with 10 percent of the $25,000,000.
This funding will create more than just a pretty scene for visitors and residents. The community on the other side of the beach is often impacted when nor’easters happen. The marshes flood and infrastructure may be damaged.
Tony Pratt with the Bay Beach Association says without this renourishment funding more community staples are at stake in Slaughter Beach. “Not only for the houses and the roads that are right here but also for the vast wetlands, and farm fields and forests and these creeks behind us. We have learned through other storms that when the beach and dune system breaks down it can be incredibly damaging to a lot of infrastructure as well as natural resources.
Pratt says this funding is for the 2024 budget year which begins October 1st.