$6.9 Million in Sandy Relief Coming to Delaware - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

$6.9 Million in Sandy Relief Coming to Delaware


MILFORD, Del. - Millions of dollars are on their way to the first state, all in the name of fixing damage from Superstorm Sandy. Between three different grants, the state received $6.9 million from the federal government to fix up the waterways by the intersection of the Mispillion River and Cedar Creek in Milford. 

Essentially this will be a dredging project where DNREC will remove sand and silt from the center of the channel leading to the bay, and will place it on to the depleted beaches in need of replenishment. 

The sand banks are home to hundreds of horseshoe crabs that rely on the habitat to live. These crabs release thousands of eggs each season, most of which will be consumed by the shorebird population. DNREC officials tell WBOC these two species have the most to lose from inaction. 

WBOC caught up with Dawn Webb, from the Dupont Nature Center, located at the Mispillion Harbor. Her office overlooks the magnificent wetlands, where hundreds of shorebirds flock to the area. 

"We're losing habitat," she said. "And if we don't have it, we're not going to have this. So it is survival. The emotions are very high. I mean look at it. It's wonderful." 

Webb told WBOC that the sand banks have become increasingly smaller due to both natural erosion, as well as storms like Superstorm Sandy. She said she was relieved to hear about the grants coming to Delaware. 

"This is one of the best areas in the world to see spawning horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds come together," she said. "The area provides that. So it's like a staging ground. And we have thousands upon thousands of people that come every year just to see that. 

The benefits go far beyond just the birds though. Tony Pratt from DNREC explained that damaged jetty systems have lead to clogged shipping channels. 

"The inlet frankly has been something we can't depend on anymore," he said. "It's silted in so much that there's too many days of low water. You just can't get in and out conveniently. So it's become a disincentive to use this port. We'd like to see that re-incentivized by a navigation channel that is constantly open and can be counted on."

This grant will repair 15,000 acres of tidal wetlands and marshes. This grant is just one of 54 given across the atlantic coast to expand resiliency in coastal communities.

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