The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Shoreline & Waterway Management Section and the City of Lewes will begin erecting fencing along the bay side of the primary dune at Lewes Beach during the first week of November.

The fencing is designed to help protect the dune’s fragile habitat, and act as a deterrent to area residents leaving personal effects and items on the dune that can damage it. The dune-fencing project is expected to take two weeks for completion, depending on weather conditions.

In August, the Shoreline & Waterway Management Section within DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship distributed flyers by mail to area residents asking them to remove any items, such as bikes, boats, kayaks and other water sports equipment from the dune before the fencing project began. Any such personal property remaining on the dune at the start of the project will be removed by DNREC staff.

Over the summer, DNREC also placed signage at Lewes Beach reminding beachgoers to stay out of the dune. Lewes Beach residents and visitors were advised to use only existing pathways through the dune when crossing it.

The Shoreline & Waterway Management Section notes that for a dune to best provide protection for coastal communities, a continuous dune line must be maintained. Structures and recreational equipment illegally placed in the dune area, along with heavy use of dunes by pedestrians for access to the beach, can destroy vegetation, and lower the elevation of the dune, thereby reducing the dune’s protection capabilities.

Illegally-stored items also smother and kill the beach grass that supports and helps sustain the dune. Without beach grass, windblown sand is not trapped in the dune, creating weak spots that can be breached by flood waters during coastal storms.

For more, call the Shoreline & Waterway Management Section at 739-9921 or the City of Lewes at 645-7777.