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Rehoboth Beach Replenishment on Track for Late Fall

Posted on October 13, 2016

By Ryan Mavity,

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is moving forward with replenishing Rehoboth Beach and targeting a late November start date.

“It’s coming. It’s just a matter of when,” Mayor Sam Cooper said.

The corps will be using a new borrow site for the sand, a site about three miles off Delaware Seashore State Park. In 2013, the corps used a borrow site off Fenwick Island for all beach replenishment projects that year, but in May 2016, the corps issued a report showing that site would be used only for renourishment in Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick because of the long distance dredges travel to carry the sand to Dewey and Rehoboth.

The site off Delaware Seashore State Park will be used primarily for Rehoboth and Dewey. According to the corps’ May report, using this borrow site exclusively for Rehoboth and Dewey will save the cost of transporting sand 15 miles from Fenwick. The corps is no longer using the borrow site off Indian River Inlet used in the 2005 beach renourishment because of complaints by beachgoers of the rocky nature of the sand.

Steve Rochette, spokesman for the corps, said the Delaware Seashore State Park site was identified through coordination with the state of Delaware and a rigorous sampling process to match native sand in the project area. The corps and DNREC are together responsible for the quality of the sand, he said.

The contract calls for 424,000 cubic yards of sand to be pumped onto Rehoboth and Dewey beaches, said corps spokesman Steve Rochette. The base contract is for $8 million with options that could put the cost at $12 million, paid 65 percent by the corps and 35 percent by Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

The last major beach replenishment was after Hurricane Sandy in early 2013; Rochette said this time, the corps will place as much sand as funds will allow, although it will not be as much as post-Sandy. Rochette said the contract with Michigan-based contractor Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, which also performed the 2013 renourishment, has options to place as much as 600,000 cubic yards of sand on the beaches.

Rochette said the focus of the renourishment will be the southern half of Dewey and the north end of Rehoboth, which was particularly hard hit by the January nor’easter storm. Some areas of the coastline erode quicker than others, he said.

“Our monitoring data show that the central portions of the project have been more stable, and the greatest beachfill needs have been at the ends,” he said.

The corps will manage the project, while DNREC will have input in the process.

In the past, the dunes have been managed by DNREC, but plans for rebuilding the dunes are not complete, said Tony Pratt, administrator of DNREC’s Shoreline and Waterways Management section. 


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