Beach Replenishment Plan to be Readjusted After Storms - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Beach Replenishment Plan to be Readjusted After Storms

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Cleanup underway in Rehoboth Beach. (Photo: WBOC) Cleanup underway in Rehoboth Beach. (Photo: WBOC)

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.- The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control says beach replenishment is a long-term plan and worthwhile investment after this weekend's damaging storm.

Because of high tides, the storm led to major sand and dune loss. Luckily, homes and businesses didn't feel the brunt of it, but the dunes are now weakened.

Steve Cobb, director of food and beverage at the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel, says it was quite the sight.

"The dune did save the boardwalk," he said. "I think there would have been some major structural damage but as you can see it's now been depleted and we need to replenish it."

Tony Pratt, administrator for Delaware shoreline and water management, said there is a need to adjust the plan for beach replenishment.

The Army Corps of Engineers already has a 50-year plan in place with Sussex County's beach towns to pump sand in every three years, but Pratt said more will need to be done after this storm, as well as last fall's nor'easter.

"When we compare the cost of nourishment to the things that are saved by the nourishment that we do, the balance is such that we see it's a really worthwhile investment," he said. "We get three or four times the payback from the investment so it's really worthwhile to be doing."

That payback being tourism.

"The beach is the economic engine that drives this area," Cobb agreed. "So hopefully they'll get the dune repaired before the summer and of course before the next storm."

Pratt added that this storm could prove to be one of the top five worst storms in the history of the region, and if another one comes before work is done, it would be severely problematic.

"That's our protection, we've invested a lot of money in that protection and we want that protection to be there for the next storm," he explained. "So that's where we begin to turn our attention to now is how do we rebuild this protection that we've now depended upon for so many storms?"

Army Corps surveyors started Monday the process of evaluating total sand loss and expect a final quantity in the next two or three weeks. From there, a plan for replenishment will be developed.

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