U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin the site preparation for the Long Branch beach replenishment project next week. The project is expected to take three months to complete and will replenish beaches beginning at Cedar Avenue and then heading north towards Howland Avenue. These beaches have suffered significant beach erosion in recent years.
The Army Corps plans to begin moving equipment and materials into the area on Monday, November 17, and will then begin pumping sand onto the beaches later this month. The pumping will continue until the project is complete, which is expected to take about 45 days.
The project will cost a total of $9.34 million, with $5.3 million coming from the federal government. Pallone secured the $5.3 million in federal funds over the last couple of years through the appropriations process in Washington. The New Jersey congressman said obtaining federal funding for beach replenishment is becoming more difficult every year as the Bush administration continues a policy of trying to end federal contributions to these projects.
"This replenishment project is desperately needed to maintain our beaches in Long Branch, which have experienced significant damage in recent years," Pallone said. "I look forward to the Army Corps completing this project in a timely fashion so that properties along the beach are protected and so both residents and tourists can enjoy our beaches for years to come."
In preparing to move forward with this project, Pallone worked with the Army Corps, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Surfers Environmental Alliance (SEA) to develop a plan to allow for a more natural distribution of the sand once the replenishment has been completed.
SEA and others have expressed concern that a traditional plan replenishing the beaches in a straight line could create a sharp drop off just off the coast that would possibly cause riptides and be dangerous for both swimmers and surfers. Surfers were also concerned that the project would negatively impact the surfing waves.
To address these concerns, Pallone, the SEA, Army Corps and the NJ DEP presented a plan that would create a feeder beach further out in the water that would, over time, redistribute its sand to the main beach in a more natural flow. This natural distribution should accomplish the goal of shore protection while mitigating any adverse impact on recreational opportunities and could potentially enhance them. At Pallone's urging, the NJDEP agreed to pay the $1.06 million to implement this plan.