Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company has mobilized equipment for the Bethany, South Bethany and Fenwick Island Coastal Storm Damage Reduction projects in Delaware. Pipe and other construction equipment are on-site with hopper dredges Dodge Island and Padre Island ready to begin by mid-May. The dredges will work in tandem from a pipe landing to dredge 1.2 million cubic yards of sand from an approved offshore borrow area and pump it through the pipes to the beaches. The sand will be graded into a dune and berm template, designed to reduce potential storm damages. The overall project also includes repairing or constructing dune crossovers and access points once the beachfill is completed, and planting dune grass in late 2018 after the first frost. The dredging will begin with Bethany Beach with a tentative completion in mid-June, move to South Bethany, which should be done in early July, and then finally shift to Fenwick Island with the total project to be completed by mid to late July.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District awarded the $17.2 million contract as part of its ongoing efforts on coastal storm risk management. In partnership with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control over twenty years, the Corps has worked on six coastal storm risk projects along the coast of Delaware. All projects involved dredging from offshore borrow sites to build dunes and berms. Beach nourishment work occurs every three to five years depending on funding. Initial construction on Bethany and South Bethany was in 2008 and included a 150-foot berm back by a dune at elevation +13.2 feet. The area was last nourished in 2016. Fenwick’s initial construction occurred in 2005 and included a 200-foot berm back by a dune at elevation +17.7 feet. Several nourishments have been done since that time.