Residents Say They Don’t See Replenishment, Despite Crews Working on Sand Dunes

By Briana Vannozzi

Steep cliffs of sand line the Jersey Coast, ranging anywhere from a four to 14-foot drop. Crews in Ortley Beach and Toms River have been working since before this weekend’s storm.

Bringing in sand to shore up the dunes — 50 plus year residents don’t see replenishment, just money being thrown out to sea.

“The Waves just ate it up in One day. So what they’re doing now is only temporary until another storm comes along and we’ll be back where we started again,” said Mickey Disalvo.

The pounding waves and gusting winds caused severe beach erosion, especially along a stretch of Northern Ocean County.

“As of yesterday 400 of these big dump trucks of sand, I don’t know how many they’ve done today, but as you can see there’s a steady convoy of them coming,” said Toms River Mayor Tom Kelaher.

No flooding or damage to homes here, but Kelaher says the beaches have never been fully restored since Superstorm Sandy.

“We’re still waiting for the Army Corp of engineers to come through with their beach replenishment project and we still have a lot of people holding out signing easements and if this storm and the conditions of the beaches isn’t an incentive for people to sign those easements. I don’t know what else is,” said Kelaher.

The Army Corp project will enlarge the beach by about the length of a football field, by dreading off shore, then enlarge the dunes. DEP is fighting about 250 homeowners along the Barrier Island in Ocean County, who refuse to sign easements.

“Since that storm, I’ve spent more time trying to get those dunes built and constructed than I Have on everything else put together,” Kelaher said.

Toms River got a $1 million grant through the department for the Sand, but that doesn’t pay for the crews hauling it in or spreading it around.

Crews are only able to work during low tide, because as you can see, the beaches have gotten very narrow. Some of these cliffs reach up to 12 feet and neighbors say the height of this weekend’s storm, the waves reached up to 14-feet high.

“This is going to be a lifetime thing, the government’s gotta come in here and, I don’t think they’re gonna do it, buy these houses out and make a certain zone where it’s safe, they’re never gonna stop it. This is mother nature. They’re never gonna stop it,” said Phil Agnello.

“That’s right, we’re very concerned its only the beginning of October. The hurricane season runs through November and the north east storms are sometimes until after the first of the year. We are extremely vulnerable,” kelaher said.

Crews will continue to work through the week until the sand runs out, or the money.