Fenwick Island ‘Passed Over’ For Planned Fall Beach Replenishment

FENWICK ISLAND – A beach replenishment project will not take place in Fenwick Island this fall as originally planned, according to town officials.

In a Fenwick Island Town Council meeting last Friday, Mayor Gene Langan announced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would not return to town this year for its scheduled beach replenishment project.

“We found out the end of last week that the Army Corps in Washington did not have us in the budget for replenishment for this year,” he said. “We’re on a four-year cycle. We were due to be replenished this fall, and it doesn’t look like we’re going to get it now.”

Langan noted that other projects in Delaware were also turned down for beach replenishment funding. He said Fenwick was working alongside the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), the Association of Coastal Towns, and state and federal representatives to advocate for much needed beach replenishment projects.

“We can just see what happens,” he said. “We’re going to be one year off on beach replenishment, as it doesn’t look like we’re going to get it this year.”

Councilman Bill Weistling told council members last week replenishment projects in Fenwick were typically coordinated with replenishment projects in Ocean City, despite the two towns being in separate districts of the Army Corps. This fall, the Army Corps Baltimore District will return to Ocean City for its next round of beach replenishment.

“They would always try to time Fenwick Island with the beach replenishment in Ocean City, Md.,” he said. “I know it comes out of two jurisdictions of the Army Corps, but it saves a tremendous amount of money on mobilization, which is usually about 20% of the entire project … It’s going to end up costing more money in the future.”

Weistling said replenishment projects were critical to maintaining the town’s beach and dune system. He encouraged the town to draft its own letter in support of beach replenishment.

“I think it’s going to be important for us to stay up on this,” he said. “I think the town should send a letter stating our concerns about this.”

Town Manager Terry Tieman explained while the Army Corps Philadelphia District gave the Fenwick replenishment project the highest priority, funding was withdrawn once it reached Washington, D.C.

“When it got to Washington, this project, along with two other projects in Delaware and one renourishment project in New Jersey, were withdrawn …,” she said, relaying her conversations with DNREC and federal officials. “It will most likely be picked up next year when they do Dewey and Rehoboth. It’s the first time where Fenwick Island has been passed over for renourishment. It is not the first time it’s happened in Delaware. It’s happened one other time in Bethany Beach.”

Officials said they were hopeful Fenwick would be added to the project list for next year.

“We don’t need any resolutions on this,” Langan said. “We just need to keep moving forward.”