ENVIRONMENT

NJ Beach Replenishment Project Begins

By Briana Vannozzi
Correspondent

Whether you’re for or against beach replenishment along the Jersey coastline, there’s one thing the state officials say you better not be — and that’s in their way.

“The governor has made it crystal clear we are gonna go take those properties because it stands in the way. If we don’t get those properties we cannot build a full coastal protection system,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin.

At a press conference in Allenhurst today, Martin said the state has secured all but 300 out of the 4,200 easements needed to do replenishment projects like the one here.

“We’re gonna continue following up in court, we’re gonna continue to use eminent domain to take those properties. We need to. These projects are too important to the overall state and to the overall communities that make that happen,” Martin said.

It’s been a point of contention for many shore towns since the state began rebuilding the beaches washed out from Superstorm Sandy. Starting today, 1.4 million cubic yards of sand will be pumped along more than 1.5 miles of beach through Allenhurst, Loch Arbour and southern Deal.

“We know that there were mostly significant erosional problems here so we’re gonna have a burm that’s gonna be 10 feet in elevation and it’ll stretch out anywhere from 140 to 300 feet,” said Colonel Paul Owen of the Army Corps of Engineers.

“It’s 100 percent federal funding because it was authorized for construction before Sandy which is important to the town because a lot of these projects, or most of these projects prior to Sandy, required 35 percent state and local funding. There were six jetties or groins that were originally going to be notched. There are only three in the final project,” said Congressman Frank Pallone.

Notching the jetties is a particularly sore subject for folks with beach conservation groups. They worry about the flow of water and the impact on the coastal habitat.

“Replenishment is a necessary evil but I think it’s a band-aid waiting to be washed out from the water,” said New Jersey Beach Buggy Association President Tim Burden.

This part of the replenishment is the last piece of the puzzle completing a 17-mile stretch along the Atlantic shoreline in New Jersey.

And though the beach is being widened, sand dunes will not be built here. That’s because Congress only authorized funding to replenish what was here prior to Superstorm Sandy.

“The original designs that were for this were already designated. If we had to go back and redesign these, it would have to go through a redesign and reassessment overall by the Army Corps of Engineers and that would take years. And a new appropriateion from congress to make that happen,” Martin explained.

Why not push for the funding for dunes?

“Well again the Corp has very specific engineering ideas about what should be done or not,” Pallone said.

The sand will be replaced and ready for beachgoers by July. The Army Corps will continue to work on outfall extensions through November.