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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finishes beach replenishment projects

James Morrison
Delaware Public Media

Replenishment projects on Delaware beaches have finally wrapped up.

Over 1.2 million cubic yards of sand have been pumped into Rehoboth, Bethany, Dewey and Fenwick Island beaches.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesperson Ed Voigt [VOGT] says replenishment happens every few years, and this year the projects lined up to happen all at once. The most expensive piece of dredging projects are the mobilization and demobilization of equipment, so he says it saved everyone money to do them together.

“We were able to do it because the cycles don’t always hit in the same year," Voigt says. "But this time we were able to do all three together, which saves the government money and saves the taxpayers money.”

They finished Rehoboth in May, Dewey and Fenwick in June, South Bethany in mid-July and Bethany last Tuesday.

Voigt says as conditions change, beach replenishment gives them the ability to adjust the sand profile or beach design to increase resiliency.

“Regardless of how people size up climate change and sea level rise and all that, the basic fact is that this type of project gives us more flexibility," Voigt says.

Voigt emphasizes the importance of beach replenishment to Delaware’s resiliency. He says restoring the beaches keeps the sand dunes intact, which are the last line of defense when coastal storms hit.

Voigt says they try to schedule beach projects in the off-season, but with a limited amount of contractors and a time-limit on money appropriated by Congress, sometimes it carries into the summer months.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.