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DNREC delays White Creek dredging project after contractor falls behind schedule

Posted on March 15, 2023

DNREC is delaying a high-priority dredging project in Sussex County after a contractor failed to keep pace with the project’s schedule.

DNREC initially scheduled the dredging at White Creek to be completed by March 31, just before the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s restrictions on dredging take effect to protect a critical period of wildlife activity.

But the contractor hired for the project pushed back its start time by four weeks, only moving their equipment to the creek’s western prong on March 1st. With time running out, DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin announced his agency is pausing the project for six months to protect the ecosystem.

“But let me be clear,” Garvin wrote in his announcement. “DNREC would not be bringing this project to a halt for at least the next six months had the contractor not failed to get it under way in time to complete it. DNREC is not in this position for lack of a timetable being written into the contract, or for lack of our following up with the contractor to let them know that they were not meeting contractual obligations.”

The delay means that portions of White Creek will not be dredged ahead of the upcoming recreational boating season, prompting DNREC to urge boaters to be cautious when operating in the unimproved shallow waters.

Last December, Sussex County Council agreed to cover $1 million of the nearly $5 million budget for the White Creek dredging project – one of the two highest-priority dredging efforts in Sussex County.


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