Beach becomes wider in Ocean County community after nearby replenishment

     The Trenton Avenue beach in Lavallette on May 14, 2017 (l) and June 23, 2017 (r) as seen from Lavallette's Elizabeth Avenue beach camera.

    The Trenton Avenue beach in Lavallette on May 14, 2017 (l) and June 23, 2017 (r) as seen from Lavallette's Elizabeth Avenue beach camera.

    Residents in the southern portion of Ocean County’s Lavallette last week noticed that a beach had become markedly wider since late May.

    Some even say that the beach around Trenton Avenue doubled in size from last year.

    How did this happen? 

    The Army Corps of Engineers earlier this month finished the first phase of beach replenishment in Ortley Beach, a section of Toms River and Lavallette’s southerly neighbor. The overarching purpose of the replenishment and dune building program is to mitigate tidal flooding during coastal storms.

    Beginning in late May, dredges pumped more than 250,000 cubic yards of sand to expand the beach — infamously narrow and requiring numerous emergency sand deliveries since Superstorm Sandy devastated the community in 2012 — to about 225 feet wide.

    But a portion of the sand pumped onto Ortley Beach has moved a few blocks north to the Trenton Avenue beach in Lavallette, and an Army Corps of Engineers spokesman says that’s typical. 

    In response to an email inquiry, Steve Rochette of the Corps’ Public Affairs office notes that it’s normal for some of the sand to migrate north to Lavallette and south to Seaside Heights.

    “This is referred to as the littoral transport of sand,” he said. 

    That’s the natural drift along the shoreline moving sand from beach fill locations to adjacent areas, Dr. Stewart Farrell, director of Richard Stockton University’s Coastal Research Institute told WorkBoat in February. 

    “If they do the project in Point Pleasant Beach, and they do it in Mantoloking, and they don’t do it in Bay Head, it will be like a catcher’s mitt,” Farrel said in the WorkBoat article in reference to beach replenishment litigation involving Bay Head. “They’re getting a beach fill anyway, at the other two communities’ expense.”

    The Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled to replenish Lavallette’s beaches next year as part of a $128 million project along Ocean County’s northern barrier island. The second phase of Ortley Beach’s replenishment begins this fall. 

    The 2013 federal Disaster Relief Appropriations Act is funding 65 percent of the project, while the state pays the remaining 35 percent from the Shore Protection Fund.

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