INDIAN RIVER INLET -- Despite rumors to the contrary, officials from the state Department of NaturalResources and Environmental Control said there are no plans to install a breakwater near Indian River Inlet.


A breakwater is a structure built to reduce the intensity of wave action, intended to reduce erosion and provide a safe harbor for boaters. One side of a breakwater is subject to a buildup of sediment while the other experiences water with little to no waves.
The idea of installing a breakwater in a popular surfing area troubled surfers, many of whom learned the sport at the inlet.
"It would be devastating to this area because there's just not that many places to surf anymore," said Rich Donofrio, who has been surfing at the inlet since the 1970s. "Surfers would be so upset."
Tony Pratt, the shoreline administrator for DNREC, said surfers' concerns about the potential for a breakwater are unfounded. He said he had heard the rumors, but they are false.
"No one's discussed it with me," he said. "We're not doing anything on that. It's not a plan we're involved in."
Pratt said DNREC has no plans to build a breakwater anywhere on the Delaware coast, and if any other agency intended to build one, it would need to apply for permits through the department. DNREC has received no such application, he said.
The breakwater rumors swirled on the heels of a minor flap about changes to inlet parking that have come with the construction of the new bridge and remodeling of the park. Those issues appeared on their way to being resolved after DNREC and Department of Transportation officials met with fishermen and surfers recently to discuss potential changes.
No breakwater plans for the inlet should be a relief to surfers who have already been dismayed by beach replenishment up and down the Delaware coast that have affected surfing areas.
"The beach replenishment, I understand why they have to pump the beach, but I'm just wondering if there's a better way to do it," Donofrio said.
"I love this place, and I love the fact that people come here -- that's how I make my money. But the state park is a place that everybody uses."
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