Long Beach Township Requests Priority Permit for New Terminal Groin in Holgate

Petition in Opposition Calls for More Discussion on Alternative Options
Sep 12, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Members of the Holgate Taxpayers Association have begun a letter campaign to support an appeal from Long Beach Township for an emergency permit to construct a new terminal groin in Holgate, citing the severe erosion on the Island’s south end. Association members and other Island residents have written to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District Engineer James Boyer, asking that the project permit is moved up to an “A#1 Priority.”

“Despite multiple replenishments and truckloads of sand, the erosion of the beaches at the south end of Holgate is becoming critical,” said Holgate Taxpayers Association President Dan Macone. “Beach entrances are closed; some beaches were not open for swimming this summer; the dunes are being carved away; homes will be endangered.

“The township and Mayor Mancini have been fighting for a new terminal groin to replace the wooden jetty. This groin is intended to greatly slow the erosion of sand and to stabilize the beach.”

He added, “Failure to act now means Holgate may not get the groin built this year and the south end will be at greater risk to the winter storms.”

Mancini, traveling out of the country but reached by phone Monday, said he’d just received recent photos of the erosion in Holgate after the past days’ stormy weather, and it didn’t look good.

Meanwhile, a petition on Change.org, circulating among locals on social media and at some of the area surf shops, opposes the project, and requests the “permit for the construction of the new Wooden Jetty (is put) on hold. The public would also like to request a public hearing, to discuss alternative options for true, environmentally sound, permanent solutions.”

The petition, which had 1,310 signatures on Tuesday morning – and is aiming for 1,500 – notes concern for the nearby Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, a federally designated Wilderness Area farther south of the groin. “Any proposal stating that the construction will not affect, alter, or negatively impact the wildlife is neglecting the Wilderness Act.” Specific areas of concern stated within the petition include water quality, “fish and wildlife values,” aesthetics and the effect on recreation, particularly the “historic surfing” at Wooden Jetty.

The petition “recommends at this time … to put any alteration on hold until a true solution is created, and to stop continuous alteration of our beaches, especially with a temporary fix. Our beaches should not be at the mercy of experimentation, especially the one that borders our remaining and protected Wilderness Area on LBI.”

Mancini countered the petition, saying, “I keep telling people, (the new groin) will create a better point break. And the current groin is rotted out; it’s shot. It’s my job is to protect the township, and I’m going to do that.”

In August, the regulatory branch of the Army Corps issued a public notice for a permit application for the replacement of the terminal groin, a project the township initiated last year. Scientists from Stockton University’s Coastal Research Center undertook field evaluation and conceptual design for the project, with insight and feedback from the Naval Academy and Stevens Institute of Technology. Last month, the township engineer was working with the state Department of Environmental Protection on design specifications and other permits.

The purpose of the notice was to solicit comments and recommendations from the public concerning issuance of a permit for this work. Comments are due by this Wednesday, Sept. 12.

The township, the notice reads, “proposes to remove an existing terminal groin (made of wood and stone) and construct a new, larger terminal groin using steel sheeting, core stone and armor stone (including re-use of existing stone). The applicant has stated that the existing deteriorating terminal groin is insufficient to slow long-shore transport of nourished beach sand to the south. The applicant is cost-sharing the project with the NJDEP, Division of Coastal Engineering.

“The project site is located on the oceanfront beach at the southern terminus of Long Beach Boulevard, just south of Cleveland Avenue in the Holgate section of Long Beach Township.”

As proposed, the new terminal groin would measure 100 feet wide, extending approximately 605 feet from an existing wood bulkhead near the southern end of the adjacent public parking lot. The groin would extend approximately 490 feet waterward of the mean high water line and 380 feet beyond the mean low water line.

On Tuesday, Army Corps Public Affairs Officer Steve Rochette explained, “Our regulatory team met with Long Beach Township, N.J. Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week. It was a productive meeting and mostly focused on impacts to the refuge and endangered species there. The permit decision really depends on our consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – they are concerned about impacts to the refuge.

“During the meeting, the group also discussed an interim solution (more in line with rebuilding the terminal groin within the existing footprint as opposed to the proposal). Our regulatory team will continue to review all of the information and continue to coordinate with resource agencies as per our policies, but a permit decision may take time.”

The DEP faced a similar situation last year when applying to clear shoals from Little Egg Inlet, and place the dredged sand on the beaches of Holgate and Beach Haven. That project, completed this past spring, was stalled for months due to consultation and coordination with Fish and Wildlife before a permit was approved.

Juliet Kaszas-Hoch


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