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Dewey Beach gets a new type of dune fencing

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control recently installed a new type of dune fencing in Dewey Beach.

The dunes in Dewey are now flanked by a new rope and pole fence.

“Last Fall we went in to repair some fence that needed to be replaced in Dewey Beach; it was the wood slat fence," said Jennifer Pongratz - an environmental scientist with DNREC. "And there was a decision made to replace it with a post and rope fence - reason being that the slat fence was becoming a maintenance issue; it collects sand as it’s supposed to.” 

Pongratz says because the dunes at Dewey Beach were in such good shape, it was collecting sand across the dune crossings. That interfered with people using the crossings to reach the beach, requiring almost daily efforts to clear them.

She notes with the post and rope fence, sand moves through the dune better, allowing natural dune vegetation to trap the sand and make the dune itself a much more uniformed height.

Pongratz says it will also hold up better during hurricanes or nor’easters.

“If the posts are undermined if the sand gets eroded from around the posts, the post and rope fence will fall down and either get washed away or washed into a pile somewhere on the beach,: she said. "And as long as the posts are in good shape, we will recover them and reuse them. Without the fence there though, if it’s a less mild storm where the posts aren't undermined, the water can go right underneath the rope.” 

Pongratz says a storm with this system wouldn’t cause as much damage as it has in the past with the wire and slat fencing.

Pongratz says the new post and rope fence in Dewey looks just like a project already completed in Fenwick Island. And she suspects it will be installed in other beach towns down the road.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.