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Delaware beaches look to recover from nor'easter prior to Memorial Day weekend

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After restoring Delaware Bay beaches DNREC is now setting its sights on the beaches along the coastline.

The beach nourishment projects are the result of the nor’easter on Mother’s Day weekend that caused erosion and damage to the beaches.

Bethany and South Bethany Beach had the most significant erosion according to DNREC.

South Bethany is where DNREC is starting its restoration work, and the plan is to move from south to north with DNREC cleaning up debris like smashed dune fencing and re-grading access crossings.

DNREC’s Jesse Hayden says the beaches will be open for the most part, but there will be some differences if you go now or Memorial Day weekend.

"The beaches are mostly open now. There's a number of crossings over the dunes that are closed for safety reasons, but people can still enjoy the beaches in all these communities. They just might have to walk to a different crossover than they're used to, and the beach might look a little different than they remember it last time they were here,” said Hayden. “But the beaches should be open and available for use, and we'll try to give them as many opportunities to access the beach as we can."

Hayden notes DNREC will work through the start of summer and the weeks and months ahead to finish the beach restoration projects.

But he says they are working as quickly as they can to make sure they can open as many crossovers as they can.

Dewey Beach is one town ready for the onslaught of beachgoers starting Memorial Day weekend.

Town Manager Bill Zolper says while the beaches are not what they were before the storm, they are open.

"And it has done something to our beach and some damage to our dune crossings. We've been able to restore all 20 of our dune crossings not back to what they were before the storm, but you can go up and down our dune crossings now with some caution. The beach itself is about 5 feet less in depth than it was before the storm," said Zolper.

Zolper adds previous Army Corps of Engineers replenishment and dune work about every five years helped during this latest storm with most flooding coming from the bayside.

He says more replenishment from the Corps and DNREC will take place this fall.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.