More volunteers are needed at Delaware Seashore State Park for Delaware’s annual beach grass planting event, set for 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 22. The event, now in its 25th year, helps protect Delaware shorelines by planting Cape American beach grass on sand dunes at beaches along the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean.
Last year, approximately 900 environmental enthusiasts, families and students planted more than 150,000 stems of beach grass along four miles of coastline between South Bethany and Pickering Beach.
According to Jennifer Luoma, environmental scientist with DNREC’s Shoreline & Waterway Management Section and coordinator of the event, planting efforts will be focused on Delaware Seashore State Park, north of the Indian River Inlet.
“This year, we are replanting dunes that have been reconstructed following a beach replenishment project,” Luoma said. “We have a large area to plant and could really use more volunteers. The goal is to trap sand on the dunes and to protect Route 1 from future coastal storms.”
Volunteers are being encouraged to sign up by March 19, either online at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/
Planting.aspx or by email to Jennifer.Luoma@state.de.us. For more information, call (302) 739-9921.
Sand dunes are considered essential for protection against damaging coastal storms. When sand dunes are destroyed, storm waves can rush inland, flood properties and put lives at risk. Stabilized dunes absorb wave energy and act as major sand storage areas, which replenish sand to eroded beaches during a storm.
Beach grass helps to build and stabilize dunes by trapping windblown sand. As the grass traps the sand, it builds the dunes higher and wider, which makes dunes more protective of the structures behind them. Since the program was introduced in 1989, more than 5 million stems of beach grass have been planted by dedicated volunteers.
DNREC’s Shoreline & Waterway Management Section coordinates the annual beach grass planting event. The section also implements beach replenishment and erosion control projects along Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay communities to enhance, preserve and protect private and public beaches.