Ship Bottom OKs Land Purchase Near Boat Ramp

Jul 04, 2018

For the second consecutive year, Ship Bottom was shut out of state funding to stop bay beach erosion from continuing just south of the boat ramp. That didn’t stop borough officials from taking action of their own.

At its monthly meeting June 26, the council unanimously approved the purchase of a parcel of land to the south of the boat ramp, hoping it will help the borough’s chances of getting funding for a living shoreline there.

“The lot is under water,” Mayor William Huelsenbeck said before the council opened up the floor for public comment on the $40,000 acquisition. There was none. “It was privately owned.”

With the purchase of the parcel, the borough now owns the bayfront from the northernmost section of the boat ramp to the south side.

“We’ve lost 60 feet of land there due to erosion,” said Councilman Joe Valyo, who is spearheading the campaign to get funding for a natural or living shoreline there. “We have to get the land put back.”

A natural, or living, shoreline uses sand fill, indigenous wetland plants and stone to preserve the shoreline and save the habitat from further destruction. Fixing the erosion problem there would help minimize flooding and runoff in the area and along Shore Avenue, according to the councilman.

A living shoreline absorbs wave energy, negating its ability to erode the coastline. It also reduces nutrient runoff while maintaining the natural ecology of an area. Bulkheads perform in the exact opposite way of a natural shoreline, reflecting wave energy and increasing attrition. They are expensive to sustain and aren’t a long-lasting answer.

The area in question is eroding into the bay and causing harm on shore, Valyo said.

A living shoreline, while still a relatively new concept in New Jersey, has been used nationwide for years. Natural shorelines last without detracting from the local ecosystem but aren’t suitable for high-energy shoreline areas, according to the American Littoral Society.  —G.S.S.

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