Final days to comment on $71M Delaware River dredging proposal

DOVER — The public has until Monday to comment on a report that presents analysis, a tentatively selected plan and an evaluation of potential impacts associated with a Delaware River dredging proposal. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the Draft Feasibility Report and Integrated Environmental Assessment (EA): Delaware Beneficial Use of Dredged Material for the Delaware River Feasibility Study initially for public comment last November.

The objective of the study is to beneficially use high-quality sand material dredged to maintain the federal navigation channel in the lower bay in order to reduce flooding, erosion and storm damage risks in coastal areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, according to a public notice.

The proposed plan involves dredged sand being pumped and placed onto eight bay front residential communities including:

•Pickering Beach

•Kitts Hummock

•Bowers Beach

•South Bowers Beach

•Big Stone Beach

•Slaughter Beach

•Prime Hook Beach

•Lewes Beach

According to the 145-page Feasibility Report and Integrated Environmental Assessment, the primary problems identified in the study are storm surge and elevated water levels from coastal storm events, shoreline erosion and sea-level change, which cause flood-related damages to the bayshore and flood-prone urban areas along the Delaware River and Bay/Estuary shoreline, as well as along Delaware’s Inland Bays. Based on the nature of the problem and overall characteristics of the study area, 26 specific Coastal Storm Risk Management problem areas were identified. However, the eight, above mentioned, communities are the ones that have been selected for the recommended plan.

The primary planning objectives for the study were to reduce flood-related impacts to people, property and infrastructure along and adjacent to the Delaware shoreline from 2020 to 2070, via the beneficial use of dredged material. Another objective is to increase the resiliency of coastal Delaware, specifically along the Delaware River/Bay and Delaware Inland Bay shoreline.

The tentatively selected plan consists of dune and berm construction with dredged material placement at the selected locations in the southern reach of the study area.

The total cost to execute the recommended plan is estimated to be just over $71 million. More detailed information about the report, associated studies and plans can be found at nap.usace.army.mil/publicnotice.

According to a public notice published in the Delaware State News earlier this month, residents have until Jan. 30 to submit their comments for consideration. They can do so by calling (302) 739-9283 or by mailing a letter to: Delaware Coastal Programs, Robert W. Scarborough, 100 W. Water St., Suite 7B, Dover DE 19904.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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