Downbeach Dune Update for Margate and Ventnor

Video from Ron T. Brown: Beach & Dredging DEC 2020.

Some call it Flood and Coastal Storm Damage Reduction for Absecon Island. Others refer to it as an expensive but non-critical money pit that benefits few.

The Downbeach dune project covers 8 miles of South Jersey coast from Absecon Inlet to Great Egg Harbor Inlet. Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate and Longport.

The controversial project was designed to reduce storm damage to homes and infrastructure from the waves, high tides and storm surges associated with these events.

NJ Governor Chris Christie and US Congressman Frank LoBiondo both played major role in this 50 year project.

Contrary to mainstream media and press releases, most residential flood damage comes from back-bay surge, not front-ocean wave action.

The Absecon Island project includes beachfill, with a 200-foot-wide berm and a dune to elevation +14.75 feet for Atlantic City and a 100-foot wide berm and a dune to elevation 12.75 for Ventnor, Margate and Longport.

Ventnor features additional ‘skinny’ dunes that reach approx 15ft in height and 10ft in width, effectively blocking views while providing little to no safety benefit.

Reports suggest dunes can’t be higher than the top of a boardwalk railing. It’s likely these ‘skinny dunes’ were created many years ago by Ventnor Public Works. These particular dunes are likely considered non-compliant and would need DEP permission to reduce their height to recommended 13.7 ft.

Non-Compliant Dune Height

NOTE: In 2019, USACE installed an over-sized stormwater management system in Margate, which includes 5 ocean outfall pipes and a beach wide drainage system to collect and convey contaminated storm water run-off from streets and chemically treated lawns.

In addition to dredging and sand pumping, ACOE also doing work on dune maintenance, walkways and fencing.

Ventnor Dunes ACOE
Ventnor Dune Work.

PROJECT STATUS: Unknown total cost for Ventnor share. Could be approx $750,000? Margate claims they will pay nothing for their share of the project that places much work between Ventnor & Margate pier.

For federal beachfill projects, the federal government contributes 65% of the project cost while the remaining 35% is divided into a cost-share, with the state contributing 75% and the local governments contributing the remaining 25%.

Non-federal beachfill projects are funded through a state/local cost-share, with the state contributing 75% and the local governments contributing 25%.

For more detail, contact:

David Rosenblatt
Chief Resilience Officer and Assistant Commissioner

Climate and Flood Resilience 501 East State Street
Trenton, NJ 08625-0419
PH: (609) 292-9236

Ed Stinson, Ventnor Public Works.

1 thought on “Downbeach Dune Update for Margate and Ventnor”

  1. From my observations, when the Ventnor Boardwalk was built, for whatever reason the natural coastline was ignored. After the Ventnor Library the Boardwalk continues the straight line out to sea ending at the Margate city line. The bulkheads tell a different story of the natural flow of the ocean. My question is this, why try to push the Atlantic Ocean back, just move the Boardwalk to follow the bulkheads.

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