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Army Corps of Engineers building dunes in Union Beach, New Jersey to protect against extreme weather

Posted on October 9, 2023

There’s a race against time and rising sea levels in Union Beach, New Jersey.

Typically, water wins.

“Yeah it’s devastating. You lose everything you have,” said Rick Morales, who lost his house in Superstorm Sandy. “It was pretty rough. I mean we lost it all, everything we had. And we had to start from scratch again.”

Sandy was an extreme event, but storms have gotten more frequent and more concerning in the 11 years since.

The Army Corps of Engineers, New York District is working to build a more resilient Jersey Shore.

“The nor’easters are frequent and cause considerable erosion. And they undermine all of the protective structures that we have in place here,” said Col. Alexander Young, commander of the New York District.

Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democrat, surveyed flood control work Friday in Union Beach, where new protective dunes are going up.

“This is the first stage,” said Pallone. “But the question today is, you know, what more needs to be done in the future? Because I think with climate change, you’re going to see bigger and bigger storms and more flooding. And we have to prepare for it.”

Morales doesn’t like losing the Manhattan skyline view to a protective dune, but after surviving Sandy, he said it’s better than the alternative.

“I know what the effects can be. It’s devastating if it happens again,” said Morales.

The new dunes and beach replenishment are part of a $1 billion effort up and down the Jersey Shore to fight off extreme weather systems that are now the norm.


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