Removal of debris Hurricane Sandy dumped in Barnegat Bay is expected to get under way early this week.
Gov. Chris Christie says nearly 1,400 boats either sank or were abandoned in New Jersey waterways during the storm. In Mantoloking, 58 homes and eight cars were washed into the bay.
After all the material is removed from the water, Christie says a massive amount of sand the storm deposited into the bay and its tributaries will be dredged.
Flooding since the storm in some bayside communities might actually be the result of clogged storm drains, says Tim Dillingham of the American Littoral Society. He’s concerned about the impact of dredging.
“There’s very important habitats there that support recreational fish, which a lot of the local economies are dependent upon,” Dillingham said. “So dredging is something we ought to look at very closely before we go at it wholesale.”
A spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection says the state will assess which areas need to be dredged and will deal with it with sensitivity.
After the debris is removed, state officials say, the goal is to complete cleanup of the entire coastline by Memorial Day.
“It depends on what we find out there. There is a lot of material in the water, a lot of it submerged, hidden,” said Larry Ragonese, DEP spokesman. “It’s going to take some effort to find that stuff and then to bring in the proper material and equipment to do it.”