FENWICK ISLAND, Del. - The Fenwick Island Town Council held a public workshop Friday afternoon to hear citizens' concerns over inland waterways, and see what dredging could do for them.
"The channels of the bay are silted in," says Mayor Gene Langan. "So what happens is you come up from Ocean City and you run aground or you can't get up into the Delaware bays and you can't get up north because of it."
Longtime Fenwick Resident Tim Collins said the Little Assawoman Bay has gotten dangerously shallow in recent years.
"There's a lot of places where you could hit bottom, so if you were running full tilt--and there's not a whole lot out there that indicates where the danger spots are--you could hit bottom and be really catapulted right out of the boat," Collins tells WBOC. "So it is an issue. Definitely an issue."
At the public workshop, some remarked how entire islands in the bay are now underwater as well. DNREC Shoreline and Waterway Management Administrator Tony Pratt says erosion and silting go hand in hand.
"Something erodes, that material goes somewhere, it fills up a channel," he explains. "We are in the process--and have been for a couple years--of prioritizing where we can do some work."
Pratt says funding future dredging is a concern.
"Everyone has the same common problem: at the federal level, the state level, the community level you don't have sufficient funds," he says "So I think part of the strategies over the next several months will be to develop some idea of how we could fund something like this."
Langan says there are no solid plans for dredging; today's workshop's purpose was getting people, state officials and local leaders in the same room to exchange ideas and opinions.