Dredged sediment will help rebuild eroding Barnegat Bay island

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Material dredged from Barnegat Bay channels to make navigation safer will be used to rebuild an island suffering from erosion.

The SandPaper reports that New Jersey Department of Transportation will deposit dredged material onto the 4.3-acre Parker Island, located in the Barnegat Bay west of Long Beach Island’s Beach Haven.

The placement of the dredged material will be in addition to a planned rehabilitation of the island that was damaged during Superstorm Sandy and the January 2016 blizzard.

According to Stockton University, the federally-owned island is already designated as a “Confined Disposal Facility” that contains bermed walls, an interior with dredged material, and an outfall pipe. It is home to wildlife and contains osprey nesting platforms.

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In Stafford Township, situated on the mainland across from central Long Beach Island, Mayor John Spodofora last year floated the idea of using dredged material to mitigate the back bay flooding problem.

He envisioned dredging lagoons and using the material to build berms on sedge islands within the Barnegat Bay.

Spodofora’s theory is that building berms on the islands, like Parker, will will serve as speed bumps to reduce flood inundation.

Along with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to analyze 950 square miles and nearly 3,400 miles of waterways in Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Monmouth and Ocean counties to reduce the state’s pervasive back bay flooding problem.

Strategies include structural solutions — surge barriers, tide gates, levees, floodwalls and drainage improvements — and natural solutions — marsh restoration, beach and dune restoration, and the creation of living shorelines (areas planted with native marsh grasses and shellfish to provide natural flood buffers).

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