U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, last week led the Senate to pass the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 (WRDA 2022), bipartisan legislation that authorizes critical investments in the projects and programs of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, both in Delaware and across the country.
The legislation includes key provisions of the Shoreline Health Oversight, Restoration, Resilience & Enhancement Act (SHORRE) Act introduced by Carper earlier this year. The shoreline enhancement and dunes restoration programs are considered vital to Bethany Beach and surrounding beach towns and areas.
“Here in the First State, water is essential to our very way of life,” said Carper. “Whether it’s investing in our beaches and coastal communities, or the waterways that deliver goods to the Port of Wilmington, this year’s Water Resources Development Act will benefit Delawareans up and down the state.”
“This legislation will advance critical Army Corps projects,” Carper said, “that will improve people’s quality of life, create good-paying jobs and strengthen our economy. I’m proud that the Senate came together to pass this bill with such strong bipartisan support, and I look forward to seeing it advance to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.”
Before the vote, Carper spoke on the Senate floor, urging his colleagues to support the legislation.
Among its provisions, WRDA 2022 would:
• Update the Corps’ emergency authorities to provide greater support to Delaware’s beaches following hurricanes, nor’easters and other damaging storms.
• Authorize the Corps to protect and restore other federal lands, such as those in the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge.
• Designate Delaware as a priority area for the Corps’ implementation of shoreline and riverbank protection and restoration projects.
• Allows local partners in Delaware to request studies that directly address climate change impacts, such as tidal flooding and sea-level rise.
• Expand the Corps’ authority to enhance resilience and increase the benefits of shore protection projects in Delaware during emergency repair and restoration efforts.
• Authorize a new $50 million Corps environmental infrastructure project in Delaware to help improve sewers, stormwater treatment systems, drinking water and other related water infrastructure throughout the state.
Carper hosted an announcement event at Slaughter Beach on Friday, July 29, to talk about the victory, and what the WRDA means for Delaware beaches and the Army Corps’ ability to protect coastlines.