Lewes Lighthouse Is Losing Its Battle Against Erosion - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Lewes Lighthouse Is Losing Its Battle Against Erosion

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LEWES, Del, - A contingent that included engineers and politicians got an up-close look at the loosened large stones and crumbling concrete surrounding the Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse. It is an erosion issue that has increased over the last nine years.
 
In 2011, the United States Army Corp of Engineers made repairs to the breakwater wall on which the lighthouse stands. The stabilizing project included the placement over 90 large stones weighing 10 to 13 tons. Today, the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation estimates 90 percent of the stones have been dislodged creating gaps in the wall.
 
"It is shocking to me that these stones are gone so quickly," foundation President Red Moulinier said. "It just shows the amount of erosion that is happening out there."
 
According to the engineers, the shoreline at Cape Henlopen is increasing and over time has narrowed the distance between it and the breakwater wall. That shrinking of distance has dialed up the intensity of the water flowing in between the two points. This has caused the water level, which was  at approximately 50 feet when the structure was built, to nearly double in depth to where it is today at over 100 feet in most places.
 
"That stress (by the water) leads to erosion of the structure and is causing the rocks to tumble down," U.S. Army Corp of Engineer Operational Manager Daniel Kelly explained.
 
The problems are easily identifiable just by taking a brief walk around the lighthouse. The solutions are more challenging. Kelly said a new fortification of the breakwater wall is an answer but it would also be extremely expensive. So high is the projected cost that his team is looking at other options to combat the erosion. 
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