Harvey Cedars Spending $631,000 for Beach Work Re-do
With Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. equipment still working locally on beach replenishment projects, Harvey Cedars is taking advantage of the situation by introducing an ordinance allocating $631,000 for repairing beaches damaged by Winter Storm Jonas in January.
“Around the center of town, we suffered from some major erosion and had some big drop-offs at the beach entrances,” said Mayor Jonathan Oldham. “Despite the damage, the dunes remained intact. We did not have any washovers. This storm showed how important our beach replenishment project was because without that, water would have run over a lot of the dunes, and we could have had major damage in town.”
At a special borough commission meeting on Thursday, Oldham said the total cost of the project is $2.1 million.
“We had to put this in a capital projects ordinance since the $631,000 represents our cost share,” he said. “The beach work will cover Hudson Street to 80th Street.”
Harvey Cedars was the second town, following Surf City, to have beach replenishment. Borough Clerk Daina Dale said that after the project concluded in 2010, an agreement was set forth where beaches would undergo a status review every seven years.
“But they would also be available to come and repair the beaches during an emergency, at no cost to the borough,” she said.
She said the Army Corps repaired beaches after Hurricane Irene in 2011, and returned in the spring of 2013 for restoration work following Superstorm Sandy.
“But FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) considered those to be emergencies, but that has not yet happened with Jonas,” said Dale.
As a result, Oldham said the borough could no longer wait for FEMA.
“If the dredges are still here, the cost for mobilizing them is $200,000,” said the mayor. “If the dredges are out of the area, the cost would be $4 million. We have to act as long as the equipment is on the Island.”
According to the Army Corp website, the dredges are currently in Long Beach Township from 48th Street in Brant Beach to Nebraska Avenue in Beach Haven Park.
A resident at the meeting, Avril Eisner, said towns may need to seek more-permanent solutions.
“It seems very costly to have the beach replenishment project, and then after some storms, the work has to be done over,” said Eisner.
He said one option could be a living breakwater system that reduces wave energy, or geotubes, which are large, fabric-type bags that are filled with sand and then placed underground to hold the sand in place.
“Look at the Barnegat Light North Jetty project,” he said. “After that was done, the beaches got stronger because sand was being washed in. It allowed nature to do its job. These beach projects on the Island look more like Band-aid solutions. We need something that will last long so that the Army Corps doesn’t have to keep coming back.”
A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for the meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 4:30 p.m.
— Eric Englund