An emergency dredging project to restore navigability in the Murderkill River was completed ahead of schedule, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today – with momentum from the $2.3 million project expected to carry over into fall on additional dredging work by DNREC’s Shoreline and Waterway Management Section that includes another navigability restoration challenge on White Creek in Sussex County.
The $2.3 million Murderkill project dredged more than 52,000 cubic yards of sediment from the river’s navigation channel, with DNREC making beneficial reuse of the dredged material to nourish close to a quarter-mile of eroding shoreline at South Bowers Beach. Not only was this accomplished during a continuous two-week dredging effort, but an additional 200 feet of sandy material was located in the Murderkill channel by DNREC’s contractor, Cottrell Contracting Company – which meant more volume could be pumped ashore to South Bowers for enhancing the town’s resiliency to coastal storms. That aspect of the project was not to be understated with the additional sand extending an area of an earlier beach nourishment project that also used dredged sand to bolster the shoreline as a vital defense of the coastal community against extreme weather.
Starting Aug. 2, DNREC’s contractor worked 24/7 on the project – with the dredge clearing the Murderkill navigation channel by mid-August as verified by surveys collected by a third party. Cottrell Contracting also monitored the dredging work for turbidity throughout the project to ensure compliance with water quality rules and regulations.
The project – which the contractor originally estimated for a 19-day work duration, based on an average rate of production – beat that estimate to the finish line by six days, in large part due to favorable weather conditions throughout. While the weather all but fully cooperated, Cottrell Contracting still