Posted on March 8, 2023
Tuckerton Borough Councilman Brian Martin gave an update on the Lanyard Lagoon project during the Feb. 22 council meeting. “Everything seems to be in order to receive American Relief Program Funding to fill the gap in construction cost,” he said.
However, Martin explained, approval to fund the project will depend on a vote taken at the next Ocean County Commissioners meeting, on March 1. (The vote had not come in by publication deadline).
Martin hopes to report good news at the next borough meeting, on March 6.
While on the topic of dredging, Martin was also glad to report he’d had a successful one-on-one meeting with Congressman Jeff Van Drew(R-N.J. 2nd) to discuss dredging in Thompson Creek as well as addressing the spit of land (a former peninsula) in Tuckerton Beach off Little Egg Harbor Boulevard.
Tuckerton did receive a FEMA grant and developed a stone jetty for part of the eroded peninsula in 2019, but after the impact of the pandemic on construction costs, more funds are required.
Martin described Van Drew as “very attentive.” Van Drew’s assistant Brian O’Connor sent Martin a followup email just hours following the meeting, which Martin read aloud in part.
“The state police are aware of the situation at Thompson’s Creek and they are conducting a formal assessment of the creek to see for matters of safety,” Martin read. Once Van Drew’s office receives the report, he will look into what entity would be responsible for it.
Van Drew “verbally agreed that he does think it is a navigable waterway, and should be treated as such,” Martin said, “since there are 89 residents that are attached and affected and use that as a means of getting out into the bay.”
The creek must be considered a navigable waterway in order to qualify for a living shoreline grant from the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection.
As far as the spit of land is concerned, Martin was told there is not much that can be done in the way of a living shoreline grant because there are no development plans for the site. Martin explained that developing plans with an engineering required funding the borough does not have.
“So they came back and recommended that I reach out to the American Littoral Society … and said that would be a very helpful place to start.”
Bob Buono of Flamingo Road asked for an update on Flamingo Lagoon dredging. Last July, Flamingo Lagoon residents crowded the meeting to express the feeling that the dredging project as proposed (dredging only mouths of lagoons) would not address their issue. While the mouth of Flamingo Lagoon needed no dredging at all, 100 to 150 yards west of the mouth is nearly unnavigable — so much so, both residents and council members have referred to it as a “speed bump.”
In August, Martin announced the engineer and contractor had agreed that it would not affect the scope of the project to dredge only the problem area in Flamingo Lagoon.
However, now that the dredge has come and gone, Buono was worried the problem area would remain. Although the dredge did go 80 feet beyond what was contracted, the “speed bump” remains.
“The dredging project is not 100% complete,” said Martin. “They still have a little bit of touch-up to do, and then the final post survey to guarantee that everything in the contract area was done.”
Martin added that the engineer had reached out to the contractor to see if it could go back in under a change order that would fall under the 20% extra the borough is allotted to spend. Minutes later, Martin was given notice, via text message, that the change order was approved to complete dredging in the remaining problem area of Flamingo Lagoon. The notification was met with applause.
In other news, Tuckerton Mayor Sue Marshall joined many other Ocean County mayors in passing a resolution to be forwarded to the governor. The resolution calls for a moratorium on surveying and recent testing related to offshore wind projects, and for a thorough investigations into the unprecedented number of recent whale deaths.
There will be a clothing drive fundraiser held by the Tuckerton Elementary School sixth-graders from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 11. They are accepting men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, shoes, hats, belts, ties, handbags, coats, jackets, wallets, dresses, suits, bed and bath linens, stuffed animals and jewelry.