The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the City of Lewes are launching an awareness campaign aimed at clearing the Lewes dune of boats, kayaks and other items that are illegally stored on the dune.
In collaboration with the city, DNREC’s Shoreline & Waterway Management Section will distribute a flyer advising against storing items such bikes, boats, kayaks and other water sports equipment on the dune.
DNREC is mailing the flyer to all Lewes property owners seaward of the canal in Lewes Beach.
A second reminder to property owners and their guests covers another state law limiting pedestrian access and vehicle traffic on the dune. This law prohibits the operation of motorized vehicles, transportation or storage of any type of boat, and pedestrian traffic across or on the primary dune on any state-owned or state-maintained public beach, except at dune crossing locations approved by DNREC.
The Shoreline & Waterway Management Section notes that for a dune to provide the best protection for coastal properties, a continuous dune line needs to be maintained. A low spot in the dune can allow storm tides and waves to create a dune breach, exposing properties behind the protective dunes to storm waves.
Structures, cars, trucks, bikes, boats, and other equipment placed in the dune area and heavy use of dunes by pedestrians for access to the beach can destroy vegetation and lower the elevation of the dune, reducing the dune’s protection capabilities.
Illegally storing manmade items, such as kayaks, boats or beach chairs also smothers the beach grass that supports and helps sustain the dune.
Without beach grass, sand is not trapped in the dune – and when sand is not trapped, it can be blown away by the wind, creating weak spots in the dune that can be breached by flood waters during coastal storms, a DNEC release noted
DNREC also is placing signs at Lewes Beach to remind beachgoers to stay out of the dunes, and will begin installing sand fencing in the same area where the signs are erected later in the season.
For more information on dune protection, please contact DNREC’s Shoreline & Waterway Management Section at 302-739-9921 or the City of Lewes at 302-645-7777.