Feds say N.J. towns can use sand from offshore sites for beach replenishment

(Army Corps image)

(Army Corps image)

New Jersey municipalities can now dredge sand from nearby offshore sites for beach replenishment projects following a federal government rule reversal.

In a release, Rep. Jeff Van Drew says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fixed a “sudden and unexpected reversal of policy” the agency made in 2016 that stalled a critical renourishment project.

In 1996, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted an exception from the Coastal Barrier Resources Act to use sand from the Hereford Inlet for a flood and coastal storm damage reduction project. Since then, the borrow site had been used to renourish the Stone Harbor coastline three times.

But a 2016 shift in policy prohibited Avalon, Stone Harbor, and North Wildwood from sand dredging in the Hereford Inlet. Van Drew says the prohibition left residents vulnerable and increased the project budget by more than $6.5 million.

“The goals of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act are worthy goals, but in the case of the ‘Stone Harbor Project,’ CBRA was creating unnecessary red tape that was having the opposite effect of its original intent,” the congressman said.

Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi praised the decision as a “permanent, common-sense solution.”

“Avalon is grateful that the sand supply in the (Hereford) Inlet can be used for protection of our sister communities, Stone Harbor and North Wildwood, while Townsend’s Inlet remains as a sand supply for Avalon’s beaches,” he said in a statement.

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