After years of neglect the channel at Masseys Ditch is getting some attention. Over the years sand and silt has filled in the channel to a point that it is barely navigable. The Delaware department of Natural Resources have funded the project and it is a go starting right now! Driscoll Drones shot some amazing video of the start of the project. The channel is the boating access point that joins the Rehoboth and Indian River Bays. It is utilized year round by thousands of boaters. We love running the boat through this area. This summer we could only navigate during high tide. Once the masseys ditch dredging project is complete the channel will provide safe access between the two bays.
Massey’s Ditch will be dredged to a width of 100 feet and a depth of 7.5 feet below Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW). A contractor will remove approximately 100,000 cubic yards of material from the channel and adjacent areas. These include the entrance to Baker’s Channel, on the north side of Lynch Thicket Island, and a large shoal between the south end of Lynch Thicket Island and Middle Island.
Dredging is scheduled to begin the week of January 6, 2020 and take approximately 31 days to complete.
The dredge spoils will be utilized to help stabilize shoreline at the base of the Indian river Inlet Bridge on the North Side.
The material planned for dredging is primarily (98%) sand. Using it to re-nourish the beach north of the inlet will provide erosion and storm damage protection to the Route 1 bridge approach. It will also restore a heavily used public recreational beach area.
The Division of Watershed Stewardship tries to use dredged sediment in a beneficial way whenever possible. This project, which clears sand from a shoaled channel and places it on an eroding beach area, is an example of efficient and beneficial use of dredged material.
J. F. Brennan Construction of La Crosse, Wisconsin is the contractor for the project. The cost of the project is $3.6 million. The money will come from the state’s Waterway Management Fund and annual appropriations from the General Assembly.
The Massey’s Landing channel is one of about a dozen federally-authorized channels in Delaware. It is the responsibility of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to operate and maintain the navigability of these waterways. This includes maintenance dredging where necessary and channel condition surveys.
However, federal funding has not kept pace with dredging and infrastructure repair costs for these channels. Limited federal resources are focused on the highest-performing projects. The Massey’s Ditch project does not compete well in the Corps’ process for determining dredging needs. It has not received federal funding since the 1970s.
In the absence of federal funding, the State has paid for dredging of Massey’s Ditch four times since the 1980s.
We hope the project goes through without a hitch and we are able to safely navigate between the two bays.