Fenwick Replenishment To Impact Summer

FENWICK ISLAND – Officials in Fenwick Island say a beach replenishment project will disrupt the town’s summer season.

In a Fenwick Island Town Council meeting last Friday, Mayor Natalie Magdeburger announced a start date for the upcoming beach replenishment project along Delaware’s coast. While work is expected to begin the third week of March, she said crews would not arrive in Fenwick Island until the summer months.

“Unfortunately, they are going to work from the north to the south, with us being the last town to receive beach replenishment,” she said. “They have told me it will involve and extend beyond our Fourth of July weekend. It’s out of our control, we have no control.”

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 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 level.

In last week’s update, Magdeburger said crews were beginning pre-survey work in the area and would begin the replenishment project in the coming weeks. She said the town’s residents and visitors could expect disruptions during the summer months.

“It makes sense logistically that they would start from the north,” she said. “It’s disappointing that they didn’t get started early, particularly with all the good weather that we’ve had. But it is what it is.”

Magdeburger noted, however, that replenishment projects were needed. She pointed out that northern beach communities were still rebuilding from last year’s Mother’s Day storm, which eroded the beachfront and damaged dune systems.

“Our northern neighbors are bigger than we are. Our northern neighbors are also at a different angle than we are, so their dunes are very much distressed,” she explained. “They lost beach crossings in the Mother’s Day storm that have yet to be fully put back, as well as boardwalks.”

Magdeburger said updates on the beach replenishment project would be shared through the town’s newsletter, social media accounts and website.

“Please be patient,” she said. “I know it’s probably going to mess up our bonfire and our (70th anniversary) birthday party we’ve got planned, but we’re going to do the best we can because it beats the alternative.”

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.