Bethany Beach Leaders Calling for Replenishment After January Storm
Walkway to nowhere. Before the January storm, this lead to the top of a dune, which has now been washed away into the sandbar (Source: Amber Muehlemann)
The storm created perfect conditions for surfers, pushing much of the sand into the sandbar, causing the waves to break further out from shore (Source: Amber Muehlemann)
Dunes have been chipped away in Bethany Beach (Source: Amber Muehlemann)
BETHANY BEACH, Del.- In the aftermath of January's big storm, leaders in the Bethany Beach are asking "what about us?" While Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach received funding for replenishment projects during Fiscal Year 2015, Bethany Beach is currently not on tract to get any funding for replenishment until at least Fiscal Year 2017.
"We're vulnerable," said Mayor Jack Gordon. "We need replenishment."
Gordon is one of many town leaders that are now calling on action from the federal government, in order to ensure future funding before FY2017. He said that it would only make sense to do the work, along with Rehoboth Beach and Dewey.
"We are just hoping that we can piggyback," he said. "On the idea that they're doing Rehoboth and they're doing Dewey Beach - we might as well be part of that while the equipment is out there."
In the end, the Army Corps of Engineers said that it would come down to funding. Army Corps spokesman Richard Pearsall said that the fastest way to get funding, would be to get it from the Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies fund, which is meant to address damage caused by storms. However, Pearsall said that it was still not clear whether there would be enough funding within FCCE for Bethany Beach.
"It's hard to be definitive on this..." he said. "We are working on it."
The damage is evident on the beach, where large chunks of the dune have been washed away into the sandbar. Surfer Greg Smith said that the damage was remarkable to see.
"This is unreal," he said. "Here and Assateague Island... It's just a straight dropoff. It's like someone took a cleaver and hacked away at the beach, and pulled it back by six feet."
Officials from the office for U.S. Sen. Tom Carper said the Delaware delegation is working to secure funding for Bethany Beach.
“Sen. Carper’s office is working closely with the delegation, state officials and the Army Corps of Engineers," said Press Secretary Katie Wilson. "To identify a path to secure funding to restore our beaches and dunes to the engineered standard that will protect our homes, businesses and infrastructure from the storms that batter our coastline.”