DNREC Installing Alternative Dune Fencing on Lewes Beach
LEWES, Del. - Lewes Beach could look a bit different after the New Year. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is installing pole and rope fencing along the sand dunes. This is an alternative that the agency decided on after many locals objected to traditional sand fencing.
"There were a lot of boats and other objects being stored up on the vegetated parts of the dune," says DNREC Shoreline and Waterway Program Administrator Michael Powell. "We want to create that visual barrier that people will respect to keep people out of the vegetated part of the dunes."
Powell says DNREC normally uses slat fencing. He says people who live in Lewes raised their oppositions in a December workshop meeting. The agency agreed on an alternative. Beach fencing, as seen in front of the main Lewes Beach parking lot, helps sand accumulate to control erosion. DNREC says this type of fencing wasn't needed to protect the dunes because people feel they're already big enough.
"There's no need to really try to trap additional sand on the beach with fencing," says Powell.
James Holt has lived in Pilot Point near Lewes Beach for 7 years. He thinks any fencing is an eye sore.
"I don't ever see anyone walking on the dunes themselves where we are," says Holt. "It doesn't seem like they need it because the dunes have not been eroding. If anything the beach has been getting further out."
Michael Agrillo visits Lewes Beach every week in the summer and wants to see the dunes preserved in the best way possible.
"I think the dune fencing is necessary," says Agrillo. "I think it plays a role in erosion prevention and it's good to keep people off the dunes."
Powell says the goal is not to restrict any beach access. He says the agency plans to leave people with as much beach as possible to enjoy on the bayside of the fence.
"Where there are existing pathways to get to the beach from street ends or from houses, we are going to preserve those openings in the sand fence," Powell says.
DNREC will add rope between the poles to complete the fencing next month. He says it's not clear yet what the consequences will be for those who trespass on the state-protected dunes.
"We are trying to work with the city to identify opportunities for storage areas that are above the storm tide levels but yet create a visual barrier so that people will not store their materials or walk in the vegetated part of the dune," says Powell.