Last phase of LBI beach replenishment underway

    A Coastal Research Amphibious Buggy (CRAB) surveys the surf area of Brant Beach

    A Coastal Research Amphibious Buggy (CRAB) surveys the surf area of Brant Beach

    The last phase of a federal beach replenishment project on Long Beach Island that began in 2015 is underway. 

    Crews with the Illinois-based Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. have begun the process of pumping approximately 300,000 cubic yards of sand onto the vulnerable Holgate, the southernmost portion of the island.

    The Padre Island and the Dodge Island dredges are currently supplying sand for the project, which is expected to conclude later this month. 

    The $128 million project, fully funded by the 2013 federal Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, began in 2014 but was temporarily paused when dredges left the state for other projects. It resumed in May 2015. 

    The project, a joint effort between the Army Corps and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, encompasses 12.7 miles of beaches throughout multiple municipalities on the island. 

    “The Army Corps contractor will construct beach and dune systems ranging from 325 feet to 415 feet wide. The beach berm itself will be built up to approximately eight feet above sea level,” a 2015 state release said. “The dune system behind the beach – critical to protection of property, infrastructure and lives – will have a top elevation of approximately 22 feet above sea level.”

    The project also includes periodic nourishment at seven year intervals over 50 years. 

    Long Beach Island beaches suffered mostly major damage during the January 2016 blizzard. A state survey noted the possibility of a new inlet in the vulnerable Holgate section. 

    The Jersey Shore chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has been regularly critical of the ongoing beach replenishment along the entire New Jersey coastline, saying it creates more hazardous swimming conditions, generates poor quality sand, and negatively impacts wildlife.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.