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.