How Some NJ Towns Avoided Dunes & Beach Replenishment

Looks like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers need to find more work. According to The Associated Press, the ACOE will soon begin efforts to find more places to dredge and pump sand along the Jersey Shore. Whether that town needs it, or not.

After Superstorm Sandy in 2011, most NJ shore towns were forced to endure so-called beach renourishment and 14 ft sand dunes. At least three coastal towns got a pass.

Former NJ Gov. Christie mandated that dunes be constructed, repaired or heightened along the entire Jersey shoreline. Sandy relief money was waiting to be spent. Congressman LoBiondo had the juice to snag the cash. Instead of each town determining how those funds would help mitigate future storm damage, Gov Christie forced a one-size-fits-all, dune system on everyone. Whether needed or not.

VIDEO: Army Corp of Engineers Often Builds Stuff We Don’t Need.

The State of New Jersey says we need more coastal storm risk reduction, by way of beach replenishment and dune building. The NJ DEP not willing to admit that back bay surge and poor drainage continues to be the bigger problems.

In towns like Margate, flooding after a heavy rain is only getting worse. Evidence suggests that over-development and lax zoning requirements allow for reduced, permeable land.

Downbeach dune building and temporary beach replenishment. A great way to spend taxpayer funds for the next 50 years. : Beaches in Belmar and Manasquan were considered wide enough to forego dunes, despite severe inland damage from Sandy.

Matt Doherty Christie dunes boardwalk CRDA
Former NJ Gov Christie & Former Belmar Mayor, Matt Doherty

Manasquan and Belmar: not required to have dunes. Why did State of NJ give them a pass? “They felt there were some (Belmar) beaches that were wide enough that they didn’t need dunes,” said Matt Doherty, who was Belmar’s mayor at the time and now leads the state Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. “We fit into that category.”

Pushing Sand Around Near Ventnor Pier Doherty said that despite Sandy’s damage to Belmar, where the boardwalk was destroyed and flooding extended more than five blocks inland, he did not favor building dunes afterward. “It would have altered the look of the beachfront in Belmar,” he said.

Some beachfront property owners have sued. Some received compensation for the loss of their oceanfront views. Ocean County juries awarded over $590,000 to owners of two homes in Point Pleasant Beach. Another couple was awarded $330,000 for the loss of beachfront property and oceanfront views.

Many are skeptical of the ACOE. They need to find work. They often do this by drumming up fear of pounding surf…. while ignoring the real problem: back-bay surge.

VIDEO: Margate storm damage comes from back-bay, not beach front.

WATCH VIDEO. Nearly seven years after Sandy, Manasquan and Belmar do not have dunes protecting their coast. And a privately owned part of Point Pleasant Beach, owned by Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, negotiated a deal with state and federal officials to build a steel retaining wall just under the sand in return for not having to build a dune.

MAKE WORK. Money is sitting there. Even if you don’t have a problem, you’ll bend over backwards to show you need that money, to fix a problem you don’t have.

In towns like Margate and Ventnor, the promised reduction in flood insurance rates, never happened.

Comment: Sandy was a freak 400 year storm. It’s been six years not a drop in anyone’s house. Maybe it will be next year or 300 years from now before it happens again and you know what those dunes won’t work. A couple little spring NE storms wiped out what the Army Corp spent millions on already. So if the towns and people want to take their chances, so what. It’s not your problem.

Start of Downbeach Dune Boggle

Comment: Why were these three (3) towns issued exemptions ? Why were the other towns who wanted the same exemptions denied? If towns don’t want the dunes, they should not get federal relief funds if another Sandy type storm hits. Why force one town to do it and not another? It was suppose to be a continuous ocean front dune protection with no breaks.

Dredging destroys the marine ecosystem. Harmful to surf fishing. Non-critical sand pumping eventually ends up in the back bays and channels of Margate, Ventnor and Longport. Clogging our waterways. Some of that sand makes the already wide Wildwood beaches… wider.

Ventnor’s Landgraf (red shirt) supports towering dune system.

Most Margate beaches were already healthy & wide, complete with bulkheads that served the city well for decades. Did local leaders in Margate and Ventnor fight back hard enough? Ventnor, No. Margate, A little.

Ventnor taxpayers are on the hook for about $500,000 every 4 years.

The real danger to Jersey Shore homeowners: back-bay surge, poor drainage and wind.

Stewart Farrell, director of Stockton University’s Coastal Research Center is said to be a beach expert. It’s been noted that Farrell and Stockton enjoy payments and funding from the State of NJ and various coastal municipalities. Not likely that Farrell would provide conflicting recommendations.

Opposition: Those pushing for dunes could care less about saving lives and property. All they want is money to dredge and pump sand. A temporary beach and dune system at best. Manasquan was not required to re-build their dunes, even though Sandy caused major damage. “It was because of the cost,” said Mayor Edward Donovan. The dune project that was considered after the storm would have covered 65 feet of a 110-foot-wide beach, leaving much less space for recreation, the mayor said. In July 2015, it voted against rebuilding its dunes.

3 thoughts on “How Some NJ Towns Avoided Dunes & Beach Replenishment”

  1. Embarrassing. Just watching the dangerous beach break today at Cedar Grove beach made me wonder if ACOE is liable for injuries due to the steep beachhead and the resulting change in waves crashing on sand. Can ACOE be sued or are they immune? Also, are they returning every year to reshape the beach the way they want it?

  2. Great article on how ineffective the Army Corp is and how gullible politicians are. Pumping sand on beach with nothing to hold sand in place is one of the dumbest ideas in history of this country. Sand pumped onto any beach on Jersey coast will move. The movement will be southerly OR into our inlets choking them and swallowing out our inshore channels. Which results in the flooding of island roads because water has no place to go. Many “experts” and Army Corp are making a lot of money pushing this nonsense… and politicians buy this nonsense.

    1. The only viable means to prevent the migration/movement of replenished sand southward is to erect a master jetty at the end of Longport.
      A 5000 foot master jetty would generate over 3000 feet of new beach which would have to be chewed through in a storm before ever reaching the bulkheads.
      Granted, it’s pricey, but it’s a one time fix that at the same time would preclude the silting up of the Egg Harbor Inlet thus making it far safer for all boaters.
      john sewell

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