When Department of Natural Resource’s (DNREC) beach guru Tony Pratt visited the Fenwick Island Town Council last week to discuss dune maintenance, he uttered two words in particular that should carry a lot of weight.
“Sand blows,” he explained.
Obviously, that was not Pratt’s only answer to officials who are rightfully concerned about the state of the dune, and the beach accessibility that comes with it. He explained, quite openly and honestly, that the work his department wants to do is currently more than his small crew can keep up with on a consistent basis. He also told the Council that as much work as there is to be done, there is also much to be thankful for in the process.
“To have what we have now — riches of sand... It’s very safe to say the dune would have been in Bunting Avenue now,” without the renourishment projects the beaches have seen.
But back to his “Sand blows” comment for a minute. There’s no secret that the ocean and beach are the two most powerful forces we have in this community. They are how many of us spend our recreational or fitness time, and they are the main reason we are fortuante enough to draw people from up and down the East Coast for vacations. Those visitors cause us to have restaurants and shops that are on par with nearly any other place in the country, despite our relatively small population.
Basically, the ocean and beaches are the vehicles that drive our entire economy, from real estate to construction to the service industry to weekly newspapers. We treasure them, and we want them to always be at their best.
But they are natural resources at their cores, and they are subject to natural effects. Wind, rain and erosion are all at play when it comes to our beaches, and we can’t solely depend on state or federal agencies to take care of them at all times. That’s why events like Coastal Cleanup are so vital to the present and future of our community — it’s a combination of businesses and individuals preserving our greatest asset.
We must all work together to preserve our beaches and dunes.