Stories from the Bay
Update By: Dr. Larry Niles, LJ Niles Associates LLC
Fortescue beach begins to take form as a constant line of 24 ton trucks deliver sand and H4 operators lift it over the sea wall and onto the intertidal edge of the sea. On Monday, March 23, they hauled 2,000 tons.
The benefit of our work became apparent on Tuesday, March 24, as the high tide washed against the derelict bulkheads that once protected this road south out of Fortescue connecting it to Raybin's Beach.
In the clip above Boomer Huen's bulldozer heroically extends the high tide line out against the Delaware Bay waves lap the new shoreline. When horseshoe crabs arrive in May, instead of a bulkhead death trap, they will find a well-defined beach with deep sand to lay their eggs.
Over the last two decades, the town has fought to maintain this beach and road out to its tiny suburb Raybin's Beach, using construction debris as a last resort. Despite this, the small community, active since at least 1932, now looks close to being extinguished by the sea. Our beach-making will write another chapter for the endangered community, but the uncertainty of Delaware Bay coastal planning leaves open whether there will be more.
The work at Thompson's proceeds slowly but promises more results throughout the week. Wickberg Marine staged its machines on Monday in preparation for beach building on Tuesday. Steve Green removed the old bulkhead boards on the beach, removing a long significant threat to horseshoe crabs. The beach is now ready for sand.
H4 Building at the beach on Fortescue.
Thompson's Beach bulkhead deadwood readied for disposal.
George Kumar of Maurice River Township tend his gill net off of Thompson's Beach.
Dr. Larry Niles has led efforts to protect red knots and horseshoe crabs for over 30 years.