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Jersey Shore town hurries to rebuild its beach before the summer

Beach replenishment operations working on Sunday afternoon, April 14, 2024, near the 90th Street Beach, just north of Townsends Inlet in Sea Isle City.

Posted on April 22, 2024

Sea Isle City is one of the lucky ones.

Crews are currently hard at work refilling the beaches of the Jersey Shore town.

“The beach replenishment project has started, and to date, the dredge ‘Liberty Island’ has placed over 100,000 cubic yards of sand on the south end beaches,” Sea Isle City Mayor Leonard Desiderio said in the latest project update.

On Sunday, evidence of the replenishment was clear as excavators and other dredging equipment could be seen piping sand in and spouting it onto the shoreline.

A contractor is using a hopper dredge to bring in sand through a pipeline from a borrow site offshore, project officials explained.

When completed, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project will bring in about 640,000 cubic yards of sand from about 29th to 53rd Streets, as well as 73rd Street to Townsends Inlet.

The mayor said that was enough sand to fill 140 football fields four feet deep.

He also noted the work would be done this spring, in time for the flock of visitors that populate the Jersey Shore each summer.

The same project contract that is benefiting Sea Isle City, work that totaled $33.7 million based on Army Corps estimates, poured the following over the winter:

  • 465,000 cubic yards of sand at Ludlum Beach Island in Strathmere
  • 257,000 cubic yards of sand in Ocean City

Project costs are usually split to 65% in federal tax money, and the remaining 35% divided between the state and municipality.

Although beach nourishment has garnered some criticism for using taxpayer money and for how often it needs to be done, officials at the Army Corps say engineers use the strategy of sand replenishment after careful and complex analysis that can take years.

According to Western Carolina University data, New Jersey this year surpassed $3 billion dedicated to beach replenishment since the 1930s. That amounted to over 245 million cubic yards of sand pumped and poured onto our shoreline.

Multiple Jersey Shore towns, like Atlantic City and Brigantine, are currently clamoring for more sand before the summer and waiting on federal project managers to advance plans.

The influx of beach visitors each year can be a boon for local economies, but worrisome if beaches are smaller due to coastal erosion.
Avalon is currently moving ahead with its own work to re-nourish the shore there.

Contracts for federal work are slated to be awarded in Long Beach Island this month, for a project between Manasquan and Barnegat Inlet in May and a Absecon Island replenishment in June.


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