Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Restoring Habitat

Sand and Spring on the Delaware Bayshore


The movement of sand on the Delaware Bay remains a mystery to coastal geologists. Unlike the Atlantic coast, where currents create a longshore drift which pushes sand generally southward, Delaware bay sand moves at the whim of both bay and creek currents and prevailing winds. The sand on any beach can move differently than adjacent beaches and sometimes in different directions on the same beach.

This is what Steve Hafner of Stockton University suspects will happen with the sand at Fortescue. A small point made by the bending road, divides the beach and may determine if sand moves to the north towards the town’s Fishermen’s Beach and south towards Raybin’s Inlet. It points to a beach maintenance strategy for the future — place the sand at the point and it will slowly recharge the beach north and south.


Sand movement on Thompson’s Beach will also be defined by points, a result of rubble placed long ago by towns people defending their homes. The homes are gone but the rubble remains.


These points are similar to two rubble points that remain on Moore’s Beach, the subject of last year’s habitat restoration by American Littoral Society and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. At Moore’s Beach, two points bound segment two but only the east end of segment one. Since we placed sand at Moore’s, the sand in segment two mostly stayed put, while a significant portion of segment one sand drifted into the creek mouth. At Thompson’s Beach, both segment one and two are defined by points so we hope the sand will persist.


Moore’s Beach


The work at both Thompson’s Beach and Fortescue Beach proceeds slowly but without significant problems. Segment one of Thompson’s is nearly complete, work begins on segment two this week. As of Friday, Fortescue Beach is about 60% complete. The pictures below show Thompson’s Beach segment one before and now after completion and a view by the author looking north towards Fortescue’s Fishermen’s Beach and south down our new beach.


Thompson’s Beach before and after


Fortescue Beach

Spring on the Bayshore is in full swing, there are ospreys hunting in Dividing Creek and a male turkey was seen displaying in Newport.