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August 8, 2003     Cape Gazette
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August 8, 2003

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12, CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Aug. 8, Aug. 14, 2003 DNREC moves ahead onAssawoman dredging; S'erraC00apl eals Department of Natural Re- sources and Environmental Con- trol (DNREC) Deputy Secretary David Small recently ordered the appropriate permits, with condi- tions, be issued to DNREC's Divi- sion of Parks and Recreation for dredging the Assawoman Canal in Sussex County. Secretary John A. Hughes recused himself from the decision because of his past in- volvement as the director of the Division of Soil and Water Con- servation. The order states the record for the application "demonstrates compliance with applicable regu- lations and provides for reason- able and appropriate measures to mitigate potential adverse impacts while, at the same time, confer- ring significant benefits on the public as a whole in furtherance of statutory policies and purposes." The Delaware chapter of the Sierra Club has filed an appeal with the environmental appeals board asking for the subaqueous lands permit issued to DNREC be withdrawn. The nonprofit organi- zation has opposed dredging the Assawoman Canal for the past eight years due to the potential of disturbing its ecosystem. "Many of the people who live along the canal came to the area because of its beauty and peacefulness," said Delaware Sierra Club Director Debbie Heaton. "Over the past 20 years, the population of this area has increased and now they are seeking tdredge a quiet canal as a way to solve a myriad of prob- lems due to idevelopment explo- sion." The Assawoman Canal is a nearly 4-mile long, manmade canal extending from White Creek to the Little Assawoman Bay. The project will include dredging of a 35-foot-wide ch.nnel the length of the canal to a depth of three feet below mean low water to enhance boating recreation. The Division of Sbil and Water Conservation is agekt and con- tractor for the Division of Parks and Recreatio and wll be per- forming the work. ThdDivision of Parks and Recreation manages the canal and adjacent land. Both mechanical and hydraulic means will be used to dredge 34,000 cu- bic yards of material. The materi- al will be disposed of at. two con- fined disposal facilities; another possible disposal site along the ocean coastline at Bethany Beach could also be used for a portion of the operation. In addition to the dredging activity, 220 feet of the western bank of the canal will be stabilized with rip-rap. Conditions incorported into the order to mitigate environmen- tal and public interesimpacts were supported and recommended by DNREC's hearing examiner ! Erik Sumptlon photo i Delaware's chapter of the Sierra Club has filed an appeal with the Environmental Appeals Board asking that a permit issued to DNREC to dredge the Assawoman Canal be withdrawn. and initially recommended by the Division of Water Resources' Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands Section, which received the per- mit application, Aug. 1, and sub- mitted a response document fol- lowing a public heating on Nov. 13. The section also recommend- ed monitoring of the dredging ac- tivity to evaluate the impacts. Permit conditions, including those to be considered as manage- Continued on page 14 --'--UI l r [" ' ' ......... [i,rllnlll mnnmmniinniuillnla II .......... r ] -- IHgllm]lilmimiilimilmnliHiilUnlllliHII I]11 [ -[ " 7 " ] -rT-q-7 ]iNI]7]YH ......... l .... FFWFVF*I[*-II