Beaches were declared a disaster in January 1996, yet mother nature brought our beaches back herself.
Reference: 1997 Proposal Beach Replenish Project For Bethany - Fenwick Island, Delaware. Call (215) 656-6734 John Brundage Army Corps of Engineers, and voice that more studies as the one below need their attention. This is the tip of the ICEBERG...... don't wait until more of your money is gone.
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These pictures show sand redeposited by nature. Use right-hand mouse button for full size.
Stumps on right side photo are 4x4 posts snapped like twigs.
These photos are copyrighted by R. V. L. 1995
The following letter describes just a few of the inconstancies with existing items.
From: William J. Winkler Marine Biologist P.O. Box 1400 Ocean View, DE 19970 (W)302-537-5334 To: Sara Cooksey Delaware Costal Management Program, DNREC P.O. Box 1401- 89 Kings Highway Dover, DE 19903 Dear Ms. Cooksey, Due to political pressure from coastal towns which have built too close to the ocean, policy of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has become more concerned with the protection of privately owned and held property than with Delaware's natural resources in regard to beach replenishment. The political tie to beach replenishment is made very apparent when you consider the fact that State beaches in the same condition as municipal beaches are not being replenished nor are there any plans to replenish them. Unfortunately, the Beach Replenishment Task Force did not agree with any kind of retreat plan for the coastal towns on the Atlantic Ocean the Delaware Bay. Beach replenishment can only occur if DNREC authorizes the permits. These permits require utilization of environmental impact studies - studies which clearly state serious environmental concerns. Where is the constraint by the people who are in charge of protecting our environment? Due to my work schedule and the time it takes to travel to Dover to review the file, I only have time to comment on three of these studies. Please refer to the following studies which are in your file, re:consistency for beach replenishment - Bethany, South Bethany and Fenwick Island. I have serious environmental, archeological and economic objections to renourishment as proposed for the above towns based on the following: I. An evaluation and comparison of Benthic Community Assemblages ... Delaware Interim Feasibility Study. A. Section 1.1 Background, paragraph two. Potential and immediate environmental effects and the exclusion of the recolonization of the original benthic community. Is this not of environmental concern? Have computerized numerical models been done on the effects of the inshore area to see what affects the removal of the shallows would have? B. Section 3.4.4 Large Organisms The presences of the commercially important Atlantic surf clam in all three habitats may preclude the use of this barrow area. See Appendix C (and others A - K), which show that the abundance and biomass data was not attached in the files. The percentage of large razor clams in the sandbar habitat is almost three times greater than in the deep habitat. C. Section 7.1 Habitat comparison, paragraph four. I interpret the data in Table 3-5 as having 97.92% of the bivalve E. Directus in the sandbar habitat to be the adult reproductive part of the population, with the juveniles of this population being found mostly in the deep habitat as is explained in the biomass interpretation of Section 3.4.3 Biomass. Any disruption of the sandbar habitat would be detrimental to the reproductive adults of the E. Directus population and should be avoided as a barrow site. II. Benthic Animal Sediment Assessment.... A. IN this report, reference is made to the mole crab and the effects of depositing the spoil onto the beach. It states that it takes approximately one year for the adult (reproductive) mole crab population to recoup if sand is deposited too deep for them to survive burrowing out. (Suffocating occurs and the entire population in this area is killed.) Is any consideration being given to the fact that Ocean City, MD is also planning a beach replenishment project for the summer and fall of 1997 and the number of miles they are planning replenish? There are approximately 16-17 miles of beach from Bethany to the south limit of ocean City, 13 of which could be replenished. Can the mole crab population keep coming back after such a block of genocide? The mole crab is a staple food for the migrating fish and sea birds, including endangered species like the Piping Plover. Do we keep killing off species willingly thinking that there are so many of them that it's no problem? Where is the constraint? Is man's beach pleasure and relatively short term financial investments more important that the natural balance of life on this planet? If beach replenishment has to done, there is an alternative method that was used by the Army Corps of Engineers of Jacksonville Beach, Fla. The spoil is deposited just off the surf zone to crate a sand bar, instead of on the beach. The ocean will then, especially during the summer months, deposit the sand "naturally" onto the beach. There is both a biological benefit and economical benefit to this. By depositing the spoil just offshore, it will create a sandbar acting as a buffer for large swells that could cause beach erosion. The sand would be deposited on the beach more gradually, allowing the mole crab to adjust and survive. Tourists would not be affected by beach closures and heavy equipment on the beach. And, finally, the cost should be considerably less since men and equipment would not be need on the beach. III. Endangered Species Monitoring Program - reference Loggerhead Turtles A. Discussion section. 1. The fact that hopper dredging does affect endangered sea turtle populations.... In the summer and fall of 1994, ironically during the period of beach replenishment in Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island and Ocean City, 13 loggerhead turtles were documented killed by drowning per Lee Spence of Mammal Stranding DNREC. Although there may have been no clear evidence of a killing by the observers on the hopper dredge, according to Cecilia Miles (the report's author) in a phone conversation on 1/25/97, "the overflow screening technique is ineffective in proving a kill of a loggerhead." Ms. Miles told me about instances where she found pieces of turtle, including intestines, which were fresh (no smell), and the Army Corps of Engineers wouldn't allow here to enter that as a kill data for another project. She said that due to the heavy equipment, especially the suction pipe itself, a turtle too large to be sucked through the pipe would be severely battered by the pipe and soft tissue sucked out of the animal. This, too, would not show up as any kind of decisive evidence that sea turtles were being harmed. Lee Spence said most if not all of the dead loggerheads found were drowned. He though one turtle appeared to have been bludgeoned to death. Lee said that usually he can detect net marks on flippers is a turtle is caught in a fisherman's dragnet. The dead turtles did not show signs of net damage. Ms. Miles told me there should be a qualified independent observer(s) on the dredge 100% of the operation time the dredge was running and that observers should not be relatives or other connections to the dredging companies. Ms Miles specified that in-flow screening is the most effective way to sample what is entering the dredge. Since DNREC's job is to protect our environment, I believe it would best do its job by making in-flow screening mandatory on all dredges and by having qualified independent observes on all dredges 100% of operation time. Volunteers should be recruited if necessary. Funding could be obtained from concerned citizens if it is necessary to pay the observers. One other comment in reference to the hopper dredge operation: In 1988, I observed the Pompano Beach, Fla beach replenishment project. Great Lakes Dredging was awarded the bid (and later indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the State of Florida for bid-rigging). The spoil that was deposited onto the beach in 1988 included large pieces of coralline rock, etc, yet, in 1994 the same dredge deposited masticated pieces of shell, etc onto the beach. Whatever equipment or process masticates the contents of the hopper should be eliminated, allowing whole shells to be deposited onto the beach. Tourists constantly complain to me in my store that there are no shell on the beach. Is the masticator a way of destroying tangible evidence of the destruction of endangered species during the dredging process - covering up large pieces of sea turtle that may been sucked up into the dredge? IV. Submerged Cultural Resources Investigation ..... A. 1.0 Introduction, last paragraph Three magnetic targets were identified in the proposed Bethany Beach barrow area designated as High Probability Targets, which I believe may be eligible for National Historic Register designation as important historic resources. It is against state law to disturb an underwater archeological site within state waters. Page 27 - Magnetic target # 25.855 The Bethany magnetic signature indicates an entire hull of a ship 300 feet long. This particular site is possibly "The Three Brothers," a British Navy payroll ship which sank in 1775. Research on this ship and its possible wreck site have been done by a registered historian for the State of Delaware. Among further evidence I have accumulated is the report of divers having recovered two ship bells from this site(prior to the Submerged Cultural Resources Law). Both bells bear the British Crown. Other evidence of a British shipwreck are the large numbers of pottery shards found over the years on the beaches south of Indian River Inlet, some of which bear maker's marks indicating they originated in Great Britain in the 1700s. I recommend that a more detailed Phase II archaeological investigation of this site be performed before any dredging in this area whatsoever is allowed. State Archeologist Fay Slocum told me that any borrow of sand from this site would have to be at least 200 yards away in all directions by state law. Artifacts from this ship are probably scattered much farther than 200 yards. Any disruption to this shoal would be detrimental to Delaware's submerged cultural resources. Artifacts from the site could be used on display at the soon-to-be renovated Indian River Coast Guard Station to tell the story of our maritime history. V. Use of the Ebb Tidal Shoal and the Natural Drift of Sand I also strongly disagree with the utilization of the ebb tidal shoal, S.E. Lob at Indian River Inlet, for the purpose of a borrow site for beach renourishment on Bethany Beach, South Bethany Beach or Fenwick Island beaches, for the following reasons: 1.0 The natural littoral draft in Delaware is south to north. The man-made Indian River Inlet, with jetties, is an unnatural structure which inhibits the natural flow of sand to the north past the inlet, creating increasing ebb and flood tidal shoals. Even though a bypass system has been installed at Indian River Inlet, there are problems with its operation (see enclosed letter and photos dated Oct. 25,1996). The Army Corps of Engineering verbally acknowledged that there are problems with the inlet, but as of this date I have not received a written reply. There is a competitive need for the ebb tidal shoal sand in Dewey and Rehoboth beaches, which is where this sand would have accumulated if it weren't for the inlet and its jetties. There has been severe dune and beach erosion to the north of the inlet in recent years and property damage in Dewey Beach. Dewey Beach was renourished in 1994, utilizing the Hen & Chicken Shoal as a borrow site (which is down drift from Dewey Beach). According to Joseph Branham, Ph.D. (marine biologist and ocean front resident in Dewey Beach on New Jersey St.), through completing his own beach profiles and sand sampling, he has determined that by the summer of 1995 the majority of the renourishment project sand had moved north to Rehoboth and the remainder was moved by summer of 1996. 2.) The renourishment project for Bethany, South Bethany and Fenwick Island beaches is not necessary. The weather pattern in the summer and fall of 1996 included 3-4 tropical storms or hurricanes approaching from the south. These storms created large southeast swell over a period of several days, which deposited large quantities of sand as far up as the base of the dunes from Fenwick Island to Cape Henlopen. Thanks to Mother Nature, I believe there is no demonstrable need for beach renourishment in the above areas, regardless of the sand loss reported in January 1996, which was used to acquired Federal funds. If profiles were taken during the summer months, they would show little if any loss from previous summer profiles; but winter profiles were shown to FEMA. I consider this an unethical way of obtaining Federal money, yet, because the way in which the Federal register is written, it does not require a waiting period for survey results of the beach profile, therefore it is legal to apply for funding in this manner. 3.) Another issue is horseshoe crabs. A permit for horseshoe crab (limulus) harvesting should be mandatory if dredging is permitted. Even though the hopper dredge is not harvesting to sell horseshoe crabs commercially, they are removing them from the population permanently. Joe Weber formally from the "Wave" newspaper reported seeing live horseshoe crabs swimming in the hoppers of the Great Lakes dredge off Delaware in the summer of 1994. I wish I had more time to devote to expounding on this issue. I hope you will give serious consideration to what I have been able to gather for you. More importantly, I hope you make your decision(s) in favor of our threatened environment, protecting our endangered species, preserving our non-replaceable underwater archeological sites, and protecting the economy of our country -- saving our hard-earned tax dollars from unnecessary spending. It would be refreshing to see real concerns win out over political pressure. Sincerely, William J. Winkler Marine Biologist Retail Store Owner, Ocean View, DE Part TWO Letter to Bob Hopman Chief of Operations ACE PHL District Friday, October 25, 1996 [I] Bill Winkler of Sussex County, Del,. former commissioner of the Hillsboro Inlet, Hillsboro, Fla.; John Farrow, former mayor of Dewey Beach, Del., and mechanical engineer; and Joe Branham, ocean front resident of Dewey Beach, Del., and marine biologist, believe you should consider not approving the Rehoboth-Dewey Beach Replenishment project authorized in "The Water Resources Development Act of 1996, S, 640." It is well known in the ocean engineering community that inlets are the main cause of downdrift beach erosion if they are not properly maintained. We believe that if the following problems are corrected little if any beach replenishment would be needed in Dewey or Rehoboth beaches: I. NO SAND BYPASSING IS PERFORMED DURING JUNE, JULY, OR AUGUST when the littoral drift is mainly to the north and would naturally replenish the beaches to the north of the inlet if not obstructed by the jetties. Bypassing is halted during these months at the request of Del. Parks and Recreation, due to tourism. Yet, massive beach replenishment projects have taken place in recent years in Dewey, Behtany Beach, South Bethany, Fenwick Island, DE, and in Ocean City, MD, utilizing heavy equipment, dredge pipes and outflow onto public beaches during these same heavy tourism months. A. Due to non-operation of the bypass during June, July and August, huge amounts of sand accumulate on the south side of the inlet and washes over the south jetty into the the inlet (figure 1 not available) and around the end of the jetty. From there it is picked up by the inlet current and carried to the ebb tidal and flood tidal shoals. Attempts to stop the overflow of sand are not working. Continued sand pumping seems to be the only solution to this problem. II. PLACEMENT OF SAND ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE INLET IS MAINLY BEING PLACED HIGH AND DRY ON THE BEACH, to rebuild the beach and dunes that protect the base of the Indian River Inlet Bridge and U.S. Route 1. Most of the sand bypassed does not directly enter the water, where it could be carried by the littoral drift to depleted beaches to the north (Dewey and Rehoboth). In this situation of "high depositing," the majority of sand is only moved into the littoral system during a storm event (Figure 2 not available). During a storm, massive amounts of sand are moved in a short period of time (1-3 days). In a north east storm event, the sand washes through the north jetty and over the base of the jetty and sidewalk into the inlet. Occasionally, the pedestrian sidewalk on the north side of the inlet is undermined and waves wash a current of sand into the inlet. Also during a north east storm event, the littoral drift is accelerated to the south, moving sand out past the end of the north jetty. This sand is caught up in the inlet current and carried to the ebb tidal and flood tidal shoals. Unknown quantities of sand may also be naturally bypassed back to the south side of the inlet during strong north easterns. Refer to Gebert data, Ebb and Flood Tidal Shoals, ACE/PHL District. III. UNKNOWN QUANTITIES OF DRY SAND ARE ALSO BEING LOST INTO THE INLET BY HIGH NORTH AND NORTHEAST WINDS (Figure 3 not available). Possibly an est-west sand trap could be constructed from layers of dune fence, which have curved traps. This would cause sand to accumulate, later to be picked up by the inlet bulldozers and redeposited onto the beach or kept there as a protective barrier planted with dune grass. You may consider increasing the authorized annual bypass from 80,000 +/- cu. yds. (Figure 4 not available) to 160,000 cu. yds. The sand is definitely available on the south side of the inlet. As of this date, the south beach is still overflowing into the inlet as witnessed by Jerry Jones (ACE/PHL) and Bill Winkler at the meeting of Oct. 18, 1996. To compare the effectiveness of increasing the sand bypassed, refer to tables below, which show the correlation between increased bypassing and the need for beach replenishment downdrift of an inlet. Table 1 represents the cubic yards per year bypassed at the Hillsboro Inlet in Broward County, FL. Table 2 shows the change in replenishment needs of Pompano Beach, which is downdrift of the Hillsboro Inlet Bypass Project. Please note that no replenishment was needed after bypass dredging was increased in 1990 to 160,000 cu. yds./yr., despite the occurrence of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Hillsboro Inlet, FL Dredge Volumes Beach Nourishment Projects, Pompano TABLE 1 TABLE 2 1966-70 avg cu yds/yr. <80,000 1970 1,076,000 cu yds replen. prg. 1979-83 avg cu yds/yr.> <39,000 1983 1,909,000 cu yds replen. prg. 1986-90 avg cu yds/yr. >118,000 1990 scheduled replen. postponed. 1991-96 avg cu yds/yr. +/-160,000 1991-96 postponed despite Andrew '92 Frank Rysavy, chairman of the Hillsboro Inlet Commission, is quoted as saying, "the excellent beach conditions of downdrift of the inlet in Pompano Beach give testimony to the fact that the inlet is managed by the best team of inlet commissioners in Florida. No other inlet in the state equals the performance of the Hillsboro Inlet. All of this is done on $500,000/yr. budget." Commissioners are locally appointed and work without pay, except for health benefits. We, the undersigned, suggest that full control of the Indian River Inlet, DE Bypass System be made the responsibility of a Sussex County inlet commission, chartered under the laws of the State of Delaware. We believe that local control would better assure proper management of the Indian River Inlet Bypass System. the project is currently managed by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, which is located in Dover (Kent County), DE, more than one and one half hours from the project. Of major concern with the Rehoboth/Dewey Beach Replenishment Project is the question, "How is the 35% of the project's estimated $200 million in inflated dollars to be paid by state and local sources when there are insufficient tax dollars collected for this purpose in Delaware's hotel-motel tax, of which 1% is earmarked for beach replenishment?" Currently, approximately $1 million is collected from this tax annually, far less than what would be required. In recap, we also strongly believe that the Indian River Bypass Project can fulfill the need for beach replenishment of Dewey and Rehoboth beaches, as long as the bypass outflow is directed into the littoral drift (not high deposited) and annual cubic yards are increased to 160,000 cu. yds./year. To keep the sand from washing into the inlet on the south side, year-round pumping is also necessary. Sincerely signed....... William J. Winkler John Farrow (former mayor of Dewey Beach, DE) Joseph Brannam, Ph. D. marine biologist, Dewey Beach Resident ............................................. phone numbers available upon request.