This area is one of the most important shorebird habitats on the bay, likely one of the most important in the hemisphere. The shoreline is severely eroded and may be a sink for horseshoe crabs because of the severely eroded beach --Crabs nesting in thin sand are unproductive because of the underlying decomposing marsh material. This rapidly eroding marsh threatens one of the most productive and largest contiguous areas of marsh in the bay and the adjacent upland communities in Downe Township.
PROJECT 3A: EGG ISLAND PHASE 1 FEASIBILITY STUDY INVESTIGATE SOURCES FOR BEACH REPLENISHMENT AND MARSH RESTORATION
The first phase of this work will require the identification of material sources. This is one of the most remote regions of the Delaware Bay and is not adjacent to any navigable waterways that undergoes routine dredging. Material would need to either come from the immediate Egg Island area or transported from remote dredging sites such as the Delaware River channel or other navigation dredging projects.
PROJECT 3B: EGG ISLAND PHASE 2 . RESTORATION PERMITTING AND PLANNING OF EAST AND WEST SIDE OF EGG ISLAND
Because a project of this type and scale is unprecedented on the Delaware Bay, a considerable amount of time and effort will need to be devoted to collaborative planning and permitting with partners and agencies before implementation can proceed.
PROJECT 3C: WORK WITH DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE TO RESTORE EAST AND WEST SIDE OF EGG ISLAND WITH DREDGE SANDS AND THIN LAYER APPLICATION OF SILT
There are two possible methods of restoration, with the best course of action to be determined through interviews with regulators and agency staff. The first option is a small dredging project that would use the segregated silt and sand deposits as described in Nantuxent Creek dredging above. The second method could source dredged materials from Delaware Bay channel dredging and deepening. We propose a small dredging project in each creek, side casting the sand on to adjacent beaches. We will target only sand and avoid silts.
We also propose a small dredging operation on the east side of Egg Island be conducted. The east side of Egg Island is an entirely vegetated sod shoreline broken by ever enlarging creek mouths. The interior marsh is degrading, perhaps a visible consequence of sea level rise. The inner marsh is protected by the outer marsh bank, because of accumulated debris and subsequent establishment of shrubs. The lost of the outer bank through storms threatened vast areas of interior marsh.
We proposed to use thin layer application of silts from the dredging of one creek to rebuild marsh on the outer edge, at least 100m into the inner marsh. This increase in elevation will fortify the inner marsh.
Monitoring the movement of sand and its final destination will be an important focus of this project as will the fate of restored marshes. Monitoring will also help better determine the coastal geomorphology of upper bay beaches and provide guidance on sand sources and sinks for the region. Adding sand to these remote beaches may prove to be a source for Fortescue and other town beaches.
Timing: We propose to conduct this project in the second year or third years depending on the permitting requirements.