Beach replenishment gets underway in northern Ocean County

A Coastal Research Amphibious Buggy (CRAB) surveys the surf area of Brant Beach, NJ during a restoration project in June of 2013. (Photo by USACE)

A Coastal Research Amphibious Buggy (CRAB) surveys the surf area of Brant Beach, NJ during a restoration project in June of 2013. (Photo by USACE)

A project that includes the construction of engineered beaches and protective dunes along a 14 mile stretch of the northern Ocean County peninsula is now underway.

Crews arrived in Mantoloking, New Jersey, last week along with an offshore dredge boat.

According to project details, offshore pumping will supply some 11 million cubic yards of sand to build dunes 22 feet above sea level and 100 to 300 foot wide beaches 8.5 feet above sea level for most of the project area.

Work will progress on beaches down to Seaside Park through late spring 2018. Periodic replenishment projects over 50 years will replace sand lost to normal erosion.

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Crews will use multiple-suction hopper dredges to pull up sand from offshore along with a cutter-head dredge, which is a large barge that sits offshore and pumps sand continuously onto the beach by way of a pipeline.

During the late spring, crews conducted emergency work in Ortley Beach, known as “ground zero” for the catastrophic property damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy. Workers will return to Ortley Beach during the fall to complete the dune and beach construction work.

Earlier this year, the Army Corps of Engineers, in conjunction with the state Department of Environmental Protection awarded a base contract of $92 million to Weeks Marine of Cranford, New Jersey to conduct the first phase of construction.

Officials say the ultimate contract amount is expected to reach about $128 million as crews advance work in areas where the state continues to seek access easements from property owners.

Sixty five percent of the funding will come from the 2013 federal Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, while the state will fund the remaining 35 percent from the Shore Protection Fund.

In Sept. 2016, Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club said the project’s funding should be going toward other methods in dealing with flooding risks.

“What this area really needs is a dune system, elevating homes, and buyouts. The federal monies coming in for rebuilding should be going towards adaptation and mitigation, restoring natural systems and requiring green buildings and energy efficiency,” he said. “We should be implementing adaptation and mitigation planning and reducing carbon pollution. The Christie Administration’s failure to deal with climate change has not only wasted millions of dollars, but put people at risk.”

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