I was at the well attended Surfrider meeting last night, which talked about the north side sand pumping project that will go on this summer to widen the beach on the north side of the Indian River Inlet to protect that vulnerable area there from erosion. The North and South sides of the Inlet are important recreational areas and surf spots in Delaware, and thus it is important to make sure consideration is placed on how this area is treated.
Major points discussed:
- Sand will be taken from inside the inlet, which is apparently fine grain sand, and the source of replenishment they used many years ago. The grain size of replenishment appears to have a big factor in how surf breaks are influence. The 2005 Delaware replenishment, which hurt many surfing breaks, was very coarse sand.
- Anticipations are that the sand pumping will create a shallower bottom beach at north side. Hopes are of returning sand bars as there was in the 80s.
- This project is a DNREC project (DE state funded), as apposed to the annual pumping they do to take sand from the south side over to the north side, which is federal funding. The federal funding is allocated only for navigation purposes through the inlet, and not for erosion protection.
- Points were made by the attendees that there are other issues, outside of just sand, like the rock jetties are sinking, displaced, which is allowing sand flow through the jetties. This would fall under the Federal Funding category, but seems to also be an important factor in protecting the surf breaks.
- There is a long history of change for the North and South side surf breaks. Most long time Delaware surfers will agree the breaks have been altered for the worse over the years, due to how the sand management has been handled over the past couple decades.
Also mentioned, but not the main focus of the conversation was the 30 million dollars of replenishment that will go on throughout the Delaware beaches (after the summer season I believe).
Please correct anything I may have gotten wrong or left out, and discuss below. I think it is great that there was a good turn out of support, and to let State decision makers know that we care what is going on with our valued coastal areas.
Results 1 to 10 of 25
May 15, 2013, 01:50 PM #1
Delaware North Side IRI Sand Pumping
May 15, 2013, 03:01 PM #2Banned
- Join Date
- Apr 2012
May 15, 2013, 03:08 PM #3
If you don't mind I would like to add some further informational points
The 2005 replenishment seems to have used medium grain to course grain size (5-8 millimeter) with small gravel. The Army Corp has preferred this size of sand as not acceptable to wind loss on beach profiles. As constant wave action on the beach this heavier grain size tends to create deeper drop offs "beach breaks" over the finer sand material that tends to create a flatter slope ideal for sand bars and surfing.
This project is a Federal project by Army Corp Phila District funded by Sandy Relief Approbations by Congress last year and DNREC is a partner. The project will pump 500,000 cubic yards of fine sand from the shoal south across from the Coast Guard Station via barge and lay pipes under the Bridge to Northside and down the Beach. So new bern's will be constructed 16" high to protect the Bridge and Route 1. The beach width will be increased some 50 feet to 1984 beach contour surveys 3500 feet south of the Northside Jetty. Their are several holes in the Northside Jetty that does transport sand from Northside through the Jetty into the Inlet tidal prism. Those repairs will "band aide" loss of replenish sand and will contribute to NS stability to retain sand in the long term. The finer sand should be a welcome by the surfing community over previous replenishments. Although timing and funding of this project is long over due by the Army Corp this by no means will resolve other problems with Northside in the long term to restore this vital and historicial surf spot.
Although we just began this journey, we had a great turn out last night but going forward the paricipation with Delaware Surfrider Chapter by locals as well as day "trippers" is so vital to our success either attending our meetings or gathering further information off the Facebook page.
I deeply appreciate Surfrider National with the assistance of SR Regional Director and Delaware Chapter of Surfrider wrapping themselves around this endeavor to retore this valuable historic surf spot.
Last edited by goofy footer; May 15, 2013 at 03:16 PM.
May 15, 2013, 03:25 PM #4
- Join Date
- Nov 2008
- bethany & wrightsville
Well for once it seems like the state is actually taking some actual science info into account. It was always just dump the sand and spread it out. Its good to see them actual considering the grain size, which is important for sandbars AND near shore aquatic animals. I've heard the larger particles really hurt sand fleas populations and thus any beach or inlet fishing.
Thanks for showing your support guys, I wish I could have made it out there. Lets get those bars back! Enough spinal injuries!
May 15, 2013, 03:28 PM #5Banned
- Join Date
- Apr 2012
May 15, 2013, 04:30 PM #6
Here is the Surfider Delaware Chapter website. Like their page, to stay on top of the latest:
It seems that are voices can actually be influential, so lets not let decision makers keep dumping (pun intended) on our surf breaks anymore.
For those who don't know, about 10 years ago almost the entire state had surfable waves, rehoboth, dewey, bethany, fenwick, etc... Now, we have a couple spots on any given swell, if we are lucky, and one of those spots (Herring Point) was helped along by the Surfrider initiative a few years ago.
May 15, 2013, 10:33 PM #7Member
- Join Date
- Sep 2007
This beach replenishment is just a start to fixing the long term problems at the North Side.
A longer term solution will be studied and (hopefully) implemented by DNREC. Patching the existing jetty is one idea to be studied (an most likely implemented once studies are completed). Lengthening the jetty back to its original 600 foot (I think) length is another idea. This would be a very expensive option. IMHO making the jetty longer is necessary for the longer term stability of sand at the NSIRI.
At least one elected official representing this area would like to see a breakwater or seawall put at the Northside to save the road at all costs.
Herring Point was going to be a T-shaped jetty until Surfrider stepped up and worked with DNREC for a better solution for all involved parties.
May 15, 2013, 10:41 PM #8
The DNREC representative echoed what I have researched before, that hard structures like groins and seawalls are not really complete solutions. They may help with one variable, but then hurt another. Seawalls, which are found throughout NJ, actually create more sand erosion. Groins pile up sand in one area, but then there is a lack of sand in another.
Last edited by Swellinfo; May 15, 2013 at 10:44 PM.
May 17, 2013, 02:12 PM #9Junior Member
- Join Date
- Sep 2010
Groin at north end of fill cell
We must as surfers consider the fact that the State decision makers, including DNREC, will UNDOUBTEDLY opt for bridge and roadway protection FIRST and FOREMOST, and not allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security that well intended DNREC beach renourishment officials are concerned about the rebuilding of sand bars to enhance surfing through finer sand fill utilization. When the bridge and roadway are threatened there is NO doubt that EXTREME measures will be implemented. Correspondingly it will be VERY expensive repeating this proposed back fill of finer material from the shoals inside the inlet on a regular basis. What happens if a huge storm moves all this material (which is finer sand subject to rapid relocation) and the roadway and bridge are threatened yet again. The hammer will fall very quickly then and sand bars will be the least of their concerns (if they really are now).
For that reason it seems that if a groin like Herring Point were constructed at the north end of the cell of new fill then both objectives would be accomplished; namely the material would be better protected from movement (still allowing sand bars along the face of the fill cell for surfing) and therefore protecting the bridge and roadway where current washouts are occuring AND providing a point break at the north end of the fill cell (much like Herring Point). Yes this will starve downward litoral drift which is currently already an issue but it will accomplish the State's main objective of bridge and roadway protection with the added benefit of at least two possible enhanced surfing benefits,i.e. sand bars along the fill cell and a point break. The amount of fill to be deposited from the backfill within the inlet will not be a long term fix for the starvation resulting from the inlet jettys unless performed regularly in an amount equal to or greater than the current accretion on south side. Tony Pratt told us the annual erosion rate is a few feet per year if nothing is done. If there were northern balancing (movement towards Dewey Beach) of the capture of sand at south side then the majority of that material would be vacated from the bridge and roadway leaving the exact problem that the State is facing today. The material either has to be very coarse and not as subject to movement or it must be retained within a defined area (presumably by a hard structure). There is only one choice here, either protect the bridge and roadway or replenish the northern starvation caused by southside jetty. Both will not happen unless this process is done regularly and I did not hear that in the meeting. Even with southside pumping (which has been far less than promised or even reported to have been done) if there is a net loss of beach the bridge and roadway WILL be PROTECTED and you know what that means.
There appears to be a risk in believing what we want to believe while not considering the reality of what is transpiring in the minds of the State officials who are apparently funding this project.
DNREC is not currently in favor of hard structures, only a policy decision, not a requirement. Wouldn't it be better to use Herring Point as the example of success ( in large part through Surfrider FDN) where a groin accomplished the desired result, while not starving the Cape and resulting in a class A break?
May 18, 2013, 12:45 PM #10