Dune rebuilding on hold in N.J. until vote on federal aid package

    Much of the dune rebuilding needed on the New Jersey shore after Superstorm Sandy is on hold until Congress votes on a federal relief package for storm cleanup.

    The Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Ed Voigt said the approximately 50 miles of dunes and replenished beaches the corps maintains sustained varying amounts of damage during Sandy.

    “We’ve collected all the post-storm information,  we’ve prepared our estimates of the work that would need to be done to restore all of our projects to their pre-Sandy conditions,” Voigt said. Now, the corps is just waiting for the scheduled Jan. 15 aid package vote. “Right now we’re in a waiting mode to see what funding might come forth and where it would be applied,” Voigt said. Oceanfront properties on the Jersey Shore that had dunes generally sustained less damage during Sandy than those left bare to wind and water.  

    Gov. Chris Christie said in a press conference last week that the Shore cannot be rebuilt until plans for restoring those dunes are finalized. “How high do you build, how far back do you build?” Christie said.  “All that’s dependent upon what the shoreline looks like. So that may be mitigation to some, but to me, it’s restoration back to where it was before or made better so that you can make the wise type of investment decisions on how to rebuild private property.”

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    Christie is calling for dunes to be built along the whole shoreline, something that has not been possible so far because homeowners do not want to sign easements for their land.     

    Temporary dunes have been built in some places, including Ortley Beach.

    Some Shore municipalities already are working toward restoring their permanent dunes including Ocean County, which is accepting old Christmas trees to help build up their dunes.  

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