Beach Replenishment Has Begun in Harvey Cedars

Work in Brant Beach Expected to Finish This Week; Dredge Then Moves to Surf City
May 30, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Over the past weekend, contractor Weeks Marine Inc.’s cutterhead pipeline dredge R.S. Weeks began placing sand near 69th Street in Harvey Cedars, commencing beach restoration for the borough. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, work there is expected to be complete by the end of July, pending any delays due to weather or mechanical issues.

During construction, crews close no more than 1,000 feet of beach as work progresses. On Tuesday, beach access closures included 68th to 70th Street and Sussex Avenue in Harvey Cedars.

Meanwhile, in a section of Brant Beach – from about 31st to 57th Street – where Weeks is also conducting beachfill, operations will likely wrap up this week. The 29th through 33rd Street beach accesses were closed on Tuesday, as the hopper dredge Magdalen carries out the replenishment.

“They have about 30,000 cubic yards to go,” USACE Philadelphia District Project Manager Keith Watson said of the Brant Beach work on Tuesday. Weeks completes about 12,000 to 15,000 cubic yards a day, so Watson estimates three more days until completion.

As Watson also pointed out – in a change from the prior schedule – operations in Surf City will now commence following the end of restoration in Brant Beach, and after scheduled repairs to the Magdalen. Upon finishing in Brant Beach, the dredge, said Watson, must go to mandatory dry dock for repairs, down south, which should take about two weeks. “We expect it to be back on station and working Surf City by the middle to end of June and to complete beachfill by the end of July,” he said.

Previously, work in Surf City was to begin, with the R.S. Weeks, after Harvey Cedars concluded. This change fast-forwards the start of work for that borough. Now, both the Harvey Cedars and Surf City projects are anticipated to end around late July.

In Harvey Cedars, the contractor is first proceeding south, and will then flip and pump north to the border of Loveladies.

When work begins in Surf City, the pipe landing will be made at 11th Street, and work will first move north, then flip to proceed south toward the border of Ship Bottom.

“Ideally, construction takes place outside of the summer season, but there is a limited number of dredges capable of completing this type of project,” the Army Corps explains on the project website, nap.usace.army.mil/lbi. “The hopper dredge Magdalen is being used to complete construction at Brant Beach while the pipeline dredge R.S. Weeks (and a booster pump) is being used for construction in Harvey Cedars.

Hopper dredges function like a ship as they transit back and forth between a sand borrow site and pump out buoy near the shoreline. Cutterhead pipeline dredges function more like a stationary barge and continuously pump sand from a sand borrow site through pipeline and onto the beach.”

“Additionally,” the site states, “weather, mechanical issues and progress on other projects has significantly impacted the schedule for work on Long Beach Island.”

Surf City Councilman Peter Hartney, who also serves as chairman of the beach committee, said earlier this month that summertime work is “not ideal, but we need the sand and the protection. The Army Corps is aware of the inconvenience of it and will try to make it as convenient as possible.”

Watson noted that there are weekly internal progress meetings with the contractor; the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection, the nonfederal project sponsor; and representatives of each community undergoing beachfill to clarify and disseminate the latest information.

Looking at the Island project in its entirety, Watson remarked, “The beaches along LBI that USACE have constructed that needed Storm Damage Reduction have performed exceptionally well since we first started the project in 2007, with the Surf City section. As a whole, the beaches and dunes are in good shape. As with all coastal SDR projects there will be a few small areas that have more erosion and others that experience accretion and everything in between. But as a whole the project has performed really well.”

The Army Corps, said Watson, monitors the beaches on an annual basis, and the DEP “is also required to operate and maintain the project and report to USACE on the state of the beaches and all features of the project, including the crossovers, sand fencing, dune grass, etcetera.”

He added, “The project is scheduled for periodic nourishment on a seven-year cycle. Initial construction was completed in FY2014 under the last large contract after Sandy. In addition, the project is also eligible for emergency repair after severe qualifying storms, as is ongoing now in Harvey Cedars, Surf City and Brant Beach, under the USACE Flood Control and Coastal Emergency Program.”

The USACE and DEP also analyze the project on an annual basis, “and look for ways to optimize performance within the authorization of the project,” Watson explained. “The actual beachfill method of using dredges to obtain material from offshore or inlet borrow areas to build the beaches remains the most efficient and economical way to nourish the beaches and maintain the storm damage reduction mission of the project. The most resilient and renewable sources of sand remain the large coastal inlets, such as Little Egg Inlet at the southern end of LBI.”

This inlet was utilized earlier this year for a state project with a twofold purpose: to clear dangerous shoals from the waterway and then use the sand to repair storm-damaged beaches of southernmost LBI.

Currently, the USACE does not have approval to use the inlet for its beach replenishment projects, but, said Watson, they are working on it.

“It’s the most economical source of sand for the southern part of the Island,” he pointed out, but noted that there are limits to how far the sand could be placed (likely just past Beach Haven to the north).

“The sand removed from a down drift inlet like Little Egg Inlet is placed on the beaches to the north and that sand not only recharges the protective beach, but it will be transported back to the inlet to refill the borrow area on a continual basis,” Watson stated. “So it is a win-win for the project and the refuge shorelines at the southern tip of the island. That is why we have been looking to add LEI as an official borrow area for the project. It is the most logical and beneficial area to use to maintain the southern end of the project, including Holgate and Beach Haven.”

The current project borrow site is off of Harvey Cedars, partly in state waters and partly in federal waters.

Visit the project website, nap.usace.army.mil/lbi, for beachfill updates.

Juliet Kaszas-Hoch

juliet@thesandpaper.net

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