FENWICK ISLAND – Officials say a beach replenishment project will take place in Fenwick Island this year.
In a Fenwick Island Town Council meeting last Friday, Mayor Vicki Carmean announced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would return to town this year to complete a beach replenishment project.
“I wasn’t too worried at first, but now we have actually received official notification … that we are on the list for beach replenishment,” she said. “I don’t believe it’s going to start before this fall or winter … We’ll take it one day at a time and accept whatever comes our way.”
The state, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), typically performs beach nourishment projects in Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island funded through a cost shared between the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and USACE.
The federal agency has developed a design that includes periodic nourishment at an interval between three and six years. Those projects, however, are dependent on the availability of funding at both the federal and state levels.
According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia District, a scheduled replenishment project along Fenwick’s beaches was set to commence last year. But last February, town officials announced the Army Corps would not return in 2021.
“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,” former mayor Gene Langan said at the time. “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.”
Officials at the time explained while the USACE Philadelphia District gave the Fenwick replenishment project the highest priority, funding was withdrawn once it had reached Washington, D.C.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Washington, this project, along with two other projects in Delaware and one renourishment project in New Jersey, were withdrawn …,” former town manager Terry Tieman said at the time. “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.”
Carmean told residents last week that despite issues at a few locations, most of Fenwick’s beaches remained intact.
“I think the beach we have now, we’re kind of lucky compared to the other Delaware beaches,” she said.