The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District announces that Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, USACE Commanding General and the 54th U.S. Army Chief of Engineers, has signed the Chief’s Report for the “Delaware Beneficial Use of Dredged Material for the Delaware River Feasibility Study” — a key milestone for the proposed project. The signing of the report advances the project to Congress for authorization.
The recommended plan calls for the dredged material to be used to construct a dune and berm system at Bowers Beach, South Bowers Beach, Slaughter Beach, Prime Hook Beach and Lewes Beach while a berm system would be constructed at Pickering Beach and Kitts Hummock. Initial construction of the project would be implemented in phases depending on funding and future dredging requirements. After initial construction, the sites would be eligible for periodic nourishment every six years.
The study was developed in response to damages along the Delaware Bay shoreline caused by erosion, wave attack, and inundation. The report recommends beneficially using dredged material from the bay for beach nourishment in the following Delaware communities: Pickering Beach, Kitts Hummock, Bowers Beach, South Bowers Beach, Slaughter Beach, Prime Hook Beach and Lewes Beach. The proposed project would use sand dredged from the bay to construct dunes and berms to reduce the risk of coastal storm damages to infrastructure. The study, funded in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, was completed in partnership with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC).
“The chief’s report identifies an additional potential resource for the state to utilize for replenishment projects along the coast,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “We use methods such as truck-fill or near-shore dredge sources that are currently the most economical ways to address the challenges we are facing from climate change. “If funded by Congress, this will give us another tool to consider if state resources are available.”
The USACE Philadelphia District routinely dredges the federal shipping channel of the Delaware River and Bay to enable maritime commerce. In the future, USACE anticipates dredging approximately 930,000 cubic yards of sand from the Delaware Bay every two years.
“I want to thank our study team and the state of Delaware for their continued partnership on this important study and our other efforts across the state,” said Lt. Col. David Park, USACE Philadelphia District Commander. “This report allows us to move forward to the next phase of the project.”
The next step will be the approval of the Chief’s Report by the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), after which it will be sent to Congress for authorization. Once authorized and funded, the project would move forward through planning, engineering, design, and eventual construction.