Many of our coastal communities from Cape May to Montauk face serious coastal erosion issues this time of year as Nor'easters continue to batter their shores. Sand is continually pulled offshore in a natural process that creates sandbars to protect the landward beaches and dunes, leaving waterfront homes at risk. This process leads to a debate on the topic of sand replenishment and the benefits and impacts of spending millions of dollars to protect property and businesses. In Long Beach Township in New Jersey, the issue recently came to a head after another round of coastal storms removed much of the remaining sand from the township's shores. The Asbury Park Press writes that the Army Corps of Engineers is ready to implement a renourishment plan but many in the local community are unwilling to provide the public access that is required to go forward. JB
LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP - Two Ocean Boulevard homes, assessed at $2.1 million each, gave new meaning Wednesday to the phrase "waterfront property."
Wind-driven waves from a mild cold front Tuesday night and Wednesday morning swept sand from under the homes, leaving 6 feet of supporting bulkhead pilings exposed and 6-by-6 beams dangling 2 feet from the nearest solid ground.
Township Commissioner Robert Palmer said municipal officials approved an emergency appropriation of $150,000 to pay for sand to be trucked in to rebuild the 18- to 20-foot dunes that overnight were worn down to half their size, swept away by the ocean.
In the North Beach section, 20-foot dunes were also severely damaged, appearing sheared in half, Palmer said, though no homes were threatened.
This most recent case of erosion again focused attention on the multimillion-dollar beach replenishment and storm protection project that is pending in five of the six towns that share the island. The project is in jeopardy because many homeowners have refused to sign access and work easements needed to do the work. Long Beach Township needs approximately 600 easements. As of last week, the township had about 50.