DNREC’s Divisions of Watershed Stewardship and Fish & Wildlife have announced plans for a cooperative dredging project on the Little River near Dover, from the Route 9/Bayside Drive bridge in Little Creek east into the Delaware Bay.
Dredging is scheduled to begin in the second week of this month. Southwind Construction of Evansville, Ind., was awarded the contract for the project and will be using their 14″ Ellicott 970 dredge.
The channel is approximately 12,400 feet long and will be dredged to widths of 40 feet in the river portion and 60 feet in the Delaware Bay portion, and to a depth of 5 feet at average low tide. The Little River was last dredged by the state in 1981-1982.
A secondary benefit of the project is the beneficial use of dredged material to restore and enhance waterbird habitat within the nearby Division of Fish & Wildlife Little Creek Wildlife Area impoundment’s Refuge cell, one of several cells comprising the impoundment divided by dikes to allow for separate management.
Beneficial use material will increase bottom elevations within the impoundment cell to a level that promotes waterfowl and shorebird diverse habitat and food resources, offsetting sinking marsh elevations that have resulted in excessive open water habitat.
The $1.01 million state-funded project includes dredging 79,000 cubic yards of material from the channel, and the removal of 30 derelict pilings and a derelict vessel from the waterway near Little Creek.
A pipeline will be placed along an existing road in the Little Creek Wildlife Area to pump dredge material from the river channel into the Refuge impoundment cell.
The project is not expected to interfere with hunting in the area. Project completion is anticipated by October 1, before peak waterfowl season.