Get ready. Here come the Atlantic City & Downbeach dune dredges. Just in time for Summer 2017.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is gearing up their dune, dredge and beach replenishment effort, aka: the Absecon Island Coastal Storm Reduction Project.
Close to 4 million cubic yards of sand, silt and other unknowns will be vacuumed from the ocean floor just off our South Jersey shoreline. “Cutterhead” & “Hopper” dredges will be used. Bottom dwelling sea-life beware.
Dredging & beach & dune building will start in Margate by late June and will go until Labor Day.
By Fall 2017:
AC: 200 ft wide beaches & towering dune elevation of 15 ft.
Ventor, Margate & Longport: 100-ft wide beaches & 13 ft high dunes.
The AC & Downbeach dune build operation will systematically shut 1,000 feet of beach at a time. Once finished with a particular section, they’ll move to the next 1,000 feet of beach front. Equipment storage for bulldozers and other heavy equipment will be included in that closed off section of beach.
The Downbeach Dune & Beachfill project will run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Dredges will be anchored just offshore…. about a mile & a half from the Atlantic City, Ventnor & Longport beaches & shore line.
Our 2 cents: We feel for Longport. They have a critical, unique challenge of erosion due to it’s location at the bottom tip of Absecon Island. Being surrounded by water on 3 sides might make the views lovely, but it paints a flooding target on this beautiful beach town.
Since one size does not fit all, many feel the mass dumping of less-than optimal sand on our Absecon shores is an expensive band-aid solution to a chronic challenge.
Congressman Frank Lobiondo has been an advocate for procuring funds for this costly & controversial project…..the 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, aka Sandy Relief Act. Opponents to this expenditure of local, state & federal tax dollars fear that these dollars/dunes could easily be washed away in a week, a year….or no doubt, sometime in the very near future. Why not help fight the real flooding culprit...the back bays?
While the first phase of this project is 100% taken care of by Federal funding, AC and Ventnor will have to help the state pony up 35% of subsequent rebuilding of the dunes and beaches.
A long time Ventnor resident suggested: ‘it’s like trying to sweep back the ocean.’ Why not invest….and develop more bulkhead and smart jetty systems. Yes, it would be more expensive in the near term, but would save zillions in the long term. Yes, we said zillions.
Environmental Impact of Dredging Off Atlantic City, Margate, Ventnor & Brigantine. From WIKI-PEDIA:
Dredging can create disturbance to aquatic ecosystems, often with adverse impacts. Dredge spoils may contain toxic chemicals that could have adverse effect on the disposal area. Dredging often dislodges chemicals residing on the sea floor.
If not done properly, dredging can adversely impact the seashore environment:
- Release toxic chemicals (heavy metals and PCB) from bottom sediments into water column.
- Affect aquatic species metabolism and interfere with spawning.
- Suction dredging allowed only during non-spawning time frames set by fish & game officials.
- Secondary impact tomarshes, due to sedimentation
- Secondary impacts to aquatic and organism metabolism and lifespan
- Possible contamination of dredge spoils sites
Due to the potential environmental impact of dredging operations, they are closely regulated and continuously monitored.
The U.S. Clean Water Act requires that any discharge of dredged or fill materials into "waters of the United States," including wetlands, is forbidden unless authorized by a permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.
As a result of the potential impacts to the environment, dredging is restricted to licensed areas only with vessel activity monitored closely using automatic GPS systems.