Changes Approved For Fenwick Dredging Permit Process

FENWICK ISLAND – Additional funding for permitting services is expected to move the town forward in its efforts to dredge the neighboring bay.

Last Friday, the Fenwick Island Town Council voted unanimously to allot an additional $4,000 toward the town’s effort to seek permits for a dredging project in the Little Assawoman Bay.

While the town had initially hired Coastal and Estuarine Research, Inc. to prepare state and federal permit applications for the project, Town Manager Terry Tieman said Fenwick was now seeking the services of Anchor QEA, a Lewes-based firm hired to manage the dredging project.

“Originally, when we started this dredging project we contracted with Coastal and Estuarine Research and Evelyn Maurmeyer. In fact, she was one of the first people we talked to,” Tieman told the council. “It’s been quite a few years, and Evelyn is no longer able to perform those services for us. Anchor QEA does do some of that work, and we believe that they will be able to handle this.”

Tieman said the town had budgeted $5,000 for permitting services. She noted, however, that Anchor QEA had submitted a proposal for $9,000.

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“In order to keep the project moving forward, and that it seems like the most practical option, we would like to increase that amount from $5,000 to $9,000 to cover that expense,” she said.

Councilwoman Vicki Carmean said she supported the change order but questioned if the town had included a timeframe for the project to be completed.

“I don’t have any problem adding the amount to what was originally suggested to expend,” she said. “But in the contract, is there something there to give you a timeline, that this group is going to do what they are going to do within a certain period of time?”

Tieman said the contract would be sent to the town’s attorney, Mary Schrider-Fox, for review.

“She hasn’t reviewed this yet,” she said. “But because there was a budgetary component I wanted to make sure that we actually budgeted for it.”

Councilman Bernie Merritt, chair of the town’s dredging committee, added that the permitting process would work in conjunction with the memorandum of understanding (MOU) being established for the project.

“This is going to follow the MOU process and the whole permitting process that we hope to start soon as we go through this,” he said. “It will work in concert, it won’t extend past that once we get a green light to move forward with that MOU.”

With no further discussion, the council voted 7-0 to add $4,000 to the town’s budget for permitting services. The money will come from the town’s dredging special reserve fund.

In 2019, the town council agreed to hire Anchor QEA to provide design, bidding and construction management services for a dredging project in the Little Assawoman Bay. The project is expected to address shoaling in the back-bay system and clear thousands of linear feet of channel.

Additionally, roughly 12,000 cubic feet of dredged material would be moved to another site for reuse. Since 2019, the town has worked with the Carl M. Freeman Companies to relocate the material to one of its properties.

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.