Permit Application for Little Egg Inlet Dredging Project Still Under Review

May 31, 2017

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently reviewing the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection’s permit application for a project to clear dangerous shoals from Little Egg Inlet, a major thoroughfare for boat traffic between southern Long Beach Island and Brigantine to the south.

“We are still coordinating issues with the federal resource agencies and no decision has been made yet,” Steve Rochette, spokesman for the Army Corps, said Tuesday.

As Rochette specified, the Corps is coordinating issues related to the nearby Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and coordinating issues related to fisheries with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The DEP’s Division of Coastal Engineering had hoped to expedite dredging. “This situation has become critical so we are moving forward, using state money, to dredge the channel and make it safe again for everyone who needs this vital access for fishing and recreation,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin noted earlier this year.

The project will focus on shoaling of sand on the ocean side of the inlet, with an estimated 1 to 1.5 million cubic yards of sand to be dredged to create a channel 25 feet below mean sea level. LBI’s southern beaches are expected to receive the dredged sand.

According to the DEP, the project is designed to have negligible to no impact on the wildlife refuge or migrations of fish.

While the department had previously aimed for bids to be accepted in mid-May, as DEP press officer Lawrence Hajna noted Tuesday, “We are revising the schedule for the project” due to the continuing review.

“The earliest we will be able to go out to bid will be the latter part of June,” Hajna stated. “This means we won’t be able to get started in early July as we had hoped.” Once the bid process begins, the DEP will be better able to set an anticipated start date for the project.  —J.K.-H.

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