After years of beach replenishment, Delmarva is looking outside of its state borders and into federal waters for new sand reserves.
Delaware, Maryland and Virginia have each partnered with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to find new sand sources using existing mapping data. As part of the federal Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, which allocated $13.6 million to the bureau, all three states will each receive $200,000 for the two-year project.
The groups will consolidate old data into updated formats, to better understand where sand deposits could be used for future beach replenishment projects. Once geologists have examined the old data, they can identify which areas need to be studied further.
As the states’ own sand resources have diminished, they’ve eyed sand in federal waters, more than 3 miles off the coast, said Robert Conkwright, a geologist with the Maryland Geological Survey. Geologists are hoping to find the Goldilocks-type sand dredging projects need that is coarse enough to stay on shores during storms but fine enough to comfort beachgoers, he said.
Delaware’s project will comb the state’s entire coast with a focus on the beaches between Rehoboth and Fenwick Island, said Kelvin Ramsey, a University of Delaware geologist and principal inv