FENWICK ISLAND – Officials in Fenwick Island last week agreed to fund survey work that will support recommendations from the town’s resiliency study.
Last Friday, the Fenwick Island Town Council voted unanimously to approve up to $4,000 for survey work related to the town’s resiliency study. Councilman Richard Benn, chair of the Fenwick Island Infrastructure Committee, said a recent resiliency study from AECOM recommended the town raise its bulkhead heights in preparation for sea level rise and future flooding events. He said the survey will allow the town to identify its existing bulkhead heights.
“One of their recommendations is that we raise all of the bulkhead heights in town to a level of 4 feet,” he said. “We first want to find out what’s the average height of our existing bulkheads.”
Benn noted that the infrastructure committee will hold an information session on Aug. 31 to present recommendations from the town’s resiliency study. He said the survey work will allow attendees to visualize bulkhead heights and where the town must make improvements.
“We want everyone to be able to visualize that this is where we need to get to, and we need to decide how we are going to get there,” he said. “We have 460 lots, and it’s going to cost between $12,000 and $15,000 a lot. So we as a community need to get together and decide how we are going to fund this, how we are going to get grants to do it, can we get grants to do it. It’s a daunting task, but we’ve got time to do it.”
Benn noted the study suggested the town could experience twice-daily flooding in the coming decades if it takes no action to address sea level rise. He said addressing bulkhead heights could be one of the first measures.
“We need to get it done before that happens,” he said.
Mayor Natalie Magdeburger agreed. She pointed out the town was making strides to address resiliency issues in Fenwick Island, and that the information session scheduled for August would allow community members to provide feedback.
“We want to start to educate and let people know what the recommendations are and then we want to seek people’s input on how this town wants to respond,” she said.
Magdeburger added that resiliency was being addressed not only through the town’s resiliency study, but through its newly drafted comprehensive plan. She said those efforts would put the town in a better position when state and federal dollars became available.
“We want to be the first in line when they are handing out money,” she said.
With no further discussion, the council voted 6-0, with Councilman Paul Breger absent, to approve the committee’s funding request for survey work.