Fenwick Hires Engineering Firm For Dredging Project

FENWICK ISLAND – Officials in Fenwick Island last week agreed to hire an engineering firm for a dredging project in the Little Assawoman Bay.

Last Friday, the Fenwick Island Town Council voted unanimously to hire Anchor QEA, a Lewes-based engineering firm, to provide design, bidding and construction management for a dredging project of the navigation channel in the town’s neighboring bay.

Councilman Bernie Merritt, chair of the town’s dredging committee, said the town received bids from two engineering firms, and Anchor QEA was selected to do the work.

“I am happy to announce that we have selected an engineer to take us to the next step in our dredging project,” he said.

The council’s approval last week will allow the town to negotiate a contract with Anchor QEA before work can begin. The firm’s services are expected to cost $60,000, which will come from reserves designated for the dredging project.

“It’s about time,” Councilwoman Vicki Carmean said. “We’ve been talking about this for two decades.”

Lead Engineer Ram Mohan of Anchor QEA said the dredging project will address shoaling in the back bay system. He said he expected crews to clear between 3,000 and 4,000 linear feet of channel and move the material to another site for reuse.

“It should be the most cost-effective project for the town,” he said.

Mohan added that between 12,000 and 13,000 cubic yards of material will be removed over the course of two or three weeks once the project begins.

“We’re glad to be of assistance to the town …,” he said. “We’ll work with the community to make sure they are aware of the project as we go along.”

Tony Pratt, a consultant helping the coastal communities of Delaware through various dredging and beach replenishment projects, said a dredging project in the Little Assawoman Bay was one piece of a larger puzzle.

“In order to have an interconnected system throughout the entire Inland Bays system, you need to speak up,” he said. “There is a vehicle by which you can do that.”

Pratt said the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Division of Watershed Stewardship is developing a methodology for prioritizing dredging projects in the Inland Bays and is seeking the community’s input to cultivate a data-based approach to ensure that Delaware’s navigational channels are kept open and safe.

“Money follows the voice,” he said. “Your voice needs to be heard if you want to have this work done beyond just coming out of your community waterways.”

Officials in Fenwick Island said the DNREC survey can be found on the town’s website. They encouraged everyone to complete the survey and share it with other community members.

“This is so important,” Mayor Gene Langan said. “It’s critical to us.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.