REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company moved its equipment onto Deauville Beach on Monday morning. More than 400,000 cubic yards of sand will be pumped from offshore onto Rehoboth and Dewey Beach.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funded 65 percent of the $7.21 million project. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources funded the remaining 35 percent. 

The parking lot by Deauville Beach is the staging area for all of the equipment. Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company will work 24 hours each day, 7 days a week for about 20 days to replenish the beach there to Rehoboth Avenue.

The Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach Coastal Storm Risk Management Project is replenished about every three years. DNREC says it will work closely with the Corps of Engineers on project oversight.

Carolyn and Thomas Myers come to Rehoboth Beach almost daily. The Lewes couple is pleased to see the beginning of beach replenishment and hope that it will help protect surrounding infrastructure and people who live and work nearby. 

"There's so many people that are moving into the area," says Thomas Myers. "It seems that the crowds get bigger each year."

Mayor Paul Kuhns says bigger crowds require more sand. "The more sand we have the more people that can come and appreciate the beach and the boardwalk," he says. "Over the years with storms erosion will take place. What the beach replenishment does is it guarantees more beach for us for a while ."

Kuhns remembers when people could walk under the boardwalk. "Now the boardwalk is on the sand because there's been so much push of sand up but so much sand has gone out to the ocean too," he says. "We're fortunate now because of the replenishment to extend the beach but also to help the dunes, which will protect the boardwalk."

Dolle's has been on the boardwalk since 1927 and soon owner Tom Ibach will have a front row seat for another beach replenishment project. He says some of his customers from this past summer were frustrated when the beach was packed with wall-to-wall people. 

"We have very little beach right now so we definitely need it," says Ibach. "I'm just concerned about the time of the year that we're doing it because the coastal storms that come up normally hit us in the winter months so I hope we still have a lot left when they get done."

The Myers can see why some of next weekend's Sea Witch attendees may not think now is the right time.

"Sea Witch is very well attended," says Carolyn Myers. "It could be a problem for some people who want to get to the beach, but it's not closing off the whole beach."

Kuhns says the timing is right.

"Sometimes they've had to postpone until the summer time and it really affects how people appreciate the beach," he says.

After Rehoboth Beach has been replenished, crews will move south to Dewey. Replenishment there is expected to take 25 days.