Fishing for funding at the Indian River Inlet

SUSSEX Co., Del. – Fisherman in Sussex County are expressing their frustration after the Army Corps of Engineers and DNREC closed off what they call the best fishing spot at the Indian River Inlet.

The Army Corps says they were forced to close it off indefinitely because it’s no longer safe due to erosion, but as of right now they say they don’t have the funds to fix it.

Bruce Mears, a fishing advocate said, “I just find it tragic that everybody’s favorite spot on the whole north side of the Inlet where the fishing is at its best is caged off from the public’s use.”

Over the past year or so, a portion of the bulkhead on the north side of the Indian River Inlet has been slowly washing away and local anglers like Elsa Lavecchia told us it’s only getting worse.

Lavecchia said, “If you keep on looking at it, a lot of the concrete now has separated from the actual cap that’s here, the jetty cap, and now they’re falling over so it’s just going to keep coming this way, that’s what’s going to happen.”

A study conducted by the US Army Corps of Engineers revealed that the erosion is likely being caused by a deep hole close to the shoreline and strong currents.

Mears said, “A hydrographic survey has proved the jetty is leaking sand, which is causing the erosion.”

As a result, the Army Corps of Engineers had to close a portion of the bulkhead off due to safety reasons, but now fishermen are finding more dangerous ways to access their favorite fishing spot.

Lavecchia said, “What they’ll do is they’ll climb over, walk on the cap, and then walk on the rocks to be able to get to their favorite fishing hole.”

The Army Corps says a long term fix will depend on the availability of future funding.

Lavecchia said, “When I saw the Army Corps of Engineers come in and just close it all of, I asked them you know, ‘We’ve been complaining about this the last couple of years and you’re just going to close it off?’ and I said, ‘When are you going to fix it after you close it off? and he said, ‘Indefinitely. We have no money.'”

Moving forward, some fishermen just hope the Army Corps will get the funding they need so that this portion of the bulkhead can be restored and life at the inlet can return to normal.

Lavecchia said, “I’m hoping that this can be fixed this year sometime.”

Several fishermen told 47ABC they have reached out to Senator Carper and Senator Coons for help with funding, and their offices have been very receptive so far, leaving people feeling hopeful.

We’re told the Army Corps will continue to monitor this site while long term repair options are further investigated.

In the mean time, pedestrians and visitors can still access the sidewalk on either side of the restricted section.

Categories: Delaware, Local News