Posted on January 31, 2024
With state funds dwindling, Delaware looks for new sources to restore its beaches, potentially burdening coastal communities. The Bay Beach Association has secured federal funds for the cause but they’re pending DNREC’s formal agreement.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has commissioned a study to investigate the economic benefits of beach nourishment and to initiate the development of new approaches to funding projects necessary for maintaining Delaware’s shorelines.
Bay Beach Association Director Tony Pratt emphasized the significance of fair treatment in this endeavor, stating, “It is always good to know the value of our coastal resources.”
The association has secured nearly $30 million in federal funds through a cost-sharing agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Pratt believes that these funds should be strategically utilized for proactive measures to prevent potential damage to bay beaches, stating, “The damages are going to be happening, and we want to be able to mitigate those before they happen because it is a lot cheaper.”
However, the release of federal dollars is contingent on the state signing an agreement that outlines the cost-sharing details and returns. Pratt strongly advocates for the 90/10 split, deeming it favorable and practical for the state.
“We hope DNREC sees the light in getting the General Assembly members to understand the need and the opportunity that’s in front of them right now,” Pratt added.
DNREC officials have confirmed ongoing negotiations with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but as of now, there is no expected date for the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to be signed.
The beach replenishment funding remains a pressing matter, with the Bay Beach Association actively engaged in advocating for a balanced and proactive approach.