US Army Corps of Engineers
Philadelphia District & Marine Design Center

Indian River Inlet & Bay

Published Dec. 3, 2012
Indian River Inlet & Bay Project Index Map

Indian River Inlet & Bay Project Index Map

The Indian River Inlet & Bay project provides a safe navigation channel for commercial, recreational and U.S. Coast Guard use. Indian River Inlet is the only water access point into the Delaware Inland Bay area that includes Indian River Bay and Rehoboth Bay.

The Indian River Inlet & Bay project provides a safe navigation channel for commercial, recreational and U.S. Coast Guard use. Indian River Inlet is the only water access point into the Delaware Inland Bay area that includes Indian River Bay and Rehoboth Bay.

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS: DE-AL

APPROPRIATION / PHASE: Operation & Maintenance, General

BUSINESS PROGRAM: Navigation

LOCATION:  Project is located at Indian River Inlet, Delaware.

DESCRIPTION: The project was authorized in 1937 (R&H Doc 41, 75th Cong, 1st Session) and modified in 1945 (HD 330, 76th Cong, 1st Session). The project authorization includes stabilizing the inlet by construction of parallel jetties 500 ft apart; the dredging of a channel generally 200 ft wide and 15 ft deep from the inner ends of the jetties to a point in the Bay substantially 7000 ft from the ocean shoreline, dredging a channel 9 ft deep, 100 ft wide in the Bay and 80 ft wide in the River, from that depth in the existing channel in Indian River Bay to and including a turning basin 9 ft deep, 175 ft wide and 300 ft long at Old Landing; then about 8200 ft to highway bridge at Millsboro, 60 ft wide, 4 ft deep.

PROJECT GOALS: The purpose of this project provides safe navigation channel for commercial, recreational and U.S. Coast Guard use. Indian River Inlet is the only water access point into the Delaware Inland Bay area that includes Indian River Bay and Rehoboth Bay. 

CONCERNS: A failed section of bulkhead/revetment along the interior north shoreline is compromising a section of sidewalk near the Delaware Seashore State Park. Public access to the area has been restricted while an investigation is conducted and a solution determined. Funding for repair will be required and is anticipated to be costly due to the steep slope into the inlet. Additionally, the Indian River Inlet jetties are in poor condition with over 350 linear ft of loss from the north jetty seaward end since 1960. Continued monitoring and management of channel, jetties and scour holes is critical to protect surrounding infrastructure and assets.

ONGOING ACTIVITIES: Storm Supplemental Funds received in FY2017 for this O&M navigation project totaling $275,000. The interior portion of the north inlet shoreline/revetment was severely eroded during several Nor'easters resulting in scarping at the end of the structure. These funds were used to repair and stabilize the terminus of the revetment using rock and a green infrastructure approach. Construction was completed in April 2018 with additional plantings placed in September 2018. An Indian River Inlet workgroup meets annually to discuss regional technical issues including the navigation project, the sand bypass plant and the shore protection projects in the vicinity. The workgroup includes participants from USACE, the State of Delaware and the University of Delaware. The USACE National Regional Sediment Management program funded proposals in FY2018 and FY2019 to investigate a systems approach. Project Condition Surveys of the navigation channel were conducted in FY2018 and will be conducted in FY2019.

PROJECT MANAGER:  Monica Chasten