Boaters voice concerns about shallow water in Massey’s Ditch

Massey's Ditch dredging project discussed

SUSSEX CO., Del. – One waterway in Sussex County has fisherman, boaters and the Department of Natural Resources up in arms.

Monday night at the South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach locals and DNREC leaders gathered to discuss dredging Massey’s Ditch, a waterway that over the years has caused trouble for some boaters.

Dennis Nemoeth, a local boater said, “It’s pretty shallow, and it’s all around the island.”

Massey’s Ditch, a popular waterway for fisherman and boaters, has seen boats get stuck over and over again.

Nemoeth said, “It is more stressful than I’ve ever experienced boating before and it’s all with the depth of the water.”

Dennis Nemoeth is a retiree with a passion for boating, but he told 47ABC he has gotten stranded in Massey’s Ditch more times than he would care to admit.

Nemoeth said, “Uh, probably half a dozen times or more.”

He said boating in the area is so stressful, that he is holding off on buying a new boat until something is done.

“You know, I’m thinking about buying another boat, a different boat than the one I just took out of the water, but I’m really reluctant to do that right now until I understand really what the waterway is going to be, going to represent,” Nemoeth said.

On the other hand, fishermen like Jim Ferguson believe dredging the water will hurt the water quality, harming local fish populations.

Ferguson said, “As far as water quality, it has negative effects. DNREC says the water is fine and I’m here to tell you it hasn’t been for a couple years.”

Ferguson said he’s already seen fish populations decline and he blames the dredging projects that were completed in the past.

“Having fished these particular waters for 30 years or so, the last couple years a gradual decline, this time of year you should be catching flounder, well back here, they’re just not here,” he said.

On top of that, Ferguson said a storm will undo any dredging progress made.

Ferguson said, “Whatever you do, believe me, a Nor’easter will undo it in a heartbeat.”

A counter argument is if no dredging is done more damage could occur.

The dredging project is expected to begin in late fall or early winter of this year.

Categories: Delaware, Local News