Home Ocean County Local Official: Beach Replenishment Won’t Begin Until 2016 At Earliest

Local Official: Beach Replenishment Won’t Begin Until 2016 At Earliest

Beach replenishment commences in Ship Bottom, N.J., May 7, 2015. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Beach replenishment commences in Ship Bottom, N.J., May 7, 2015. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Jersey Shore communities will have to bear another hurricane season and winter without proper protection from coastal storms, with a federal beach replenishment project pushed back again – this time until at least spring 2016, a local official said.

Toms River Councilman George Wittmann said he and other local officials have been in contact with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection which notified them that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects the project to replenish beaches and build 22 foot-high dunes between Manasquan and Barnegat inlets will not be advertised for bids until the end of 2015. Construction work would not start until spring 2016 at the earliest.

“The state anticipates that the contract will take 600 days from the award” until completion, Wittmann said.


The project was initially supposed to have started already, but legal challenges from a group of Bay Head homeowners plus the owners of Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant Beach have held it up. Those challenging the project have refused to sign easements allowing dunes to be built on slivers of sand they privately own, arguing that allowing the government to access their land could lead to obligations for public access or other uses. Documentation given to homeowners to sign specifies the easements can only be used for dune construction, but that has not settled their concerns. Earlier this year, former Superior Court Judge Vincent J. Grasso ruled the state must use its traditional eminent domain process to condemn and take the easements instead of the streamlined process that was used by way of the state’s Disaster Control Act.

Wittmann said due to the court ruling, all local municipalities are involved in a survey and appraisal process, conforming to the traditional eminent domain method.

The DEP, Wittmann said, also told officials the idea of splitting the beach replenishment project into separate phases is currently off the table. In May, DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said the state would ask the federal government to award contracts to replenish beaches and build dunes in municipalities such as Brick and Toms River where most easements were in hand and temporarily skip Bay Head and Point Pleasant Beach while the legal issues were sorted out. A similar, phased effort was used in Long Beach Island as municipalities settled easement disputes at varying times.

“The way the bill was funded by Congress prevents it from being done in sections like Long Beach Island,” Wittmann told Shorebeat.

“The state, to their credit, has requested that due to the amount of outstanding easements and because of their locations within the project, that Bay Head and Point Pleasant Beach sections be added to the contract as ‘options,'” he said. “This means that once the state has acquired all the necessary real estate from Mantoloking south to Berkeley, the state will request the Army Corps put the contract out to bid with the main work being Mantoloking through Berkeley, and Bay Head and Point Pleasant Beach being options that can be awarded to the contractor during the course of construction.”

Beaches in Mantoloking, Brick and Toms River are widely considered to have suffered the most damage during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Brick has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars building up temporary berms to protect the integrity of the barrier island during nor’easters, and recently spent $80,000 to truck in sand to cover a steel sea wall revetment that led to a dangerous drop at the oceanfront. The sea wall was supposed to have already been covered by the dunes planned in the federal project.

  • Glenn

    Please supply names and addresses for those not consenting so I know who to sue when my home two miles inland is damaged again by the next breaching. And did any of these properties suffer any Sandy damage?
    We have been hearing these same stories for two years now, but I am unaware of any personal contact made by the media to gather their side of the story other than the lame excuse about future intrusion, aka; boardwalks, etc.

    • Scott

      Glenn, the names have been published many times, it is public information. Go to the local town you are interested in, go to town and they will give you names. Having read the easements many times, many of the words are kpeagaluze and can be taken many ways. I do not know if one person who has said they do not want repkeshment, I am sure there are a few. Is all they are asking for are things like, “There will be no xxxx built here, no public access on my private property, eat….. Simple English would solve most of the problems. Go to county web site and read the easements.

  • Rich W

    March and rally to protest
    stalled dune-beach project

    Citing “the third hurricane season of vulnerability” and 1,000 days since Superstorm Sandy, two citizens’ groups are urging the public to join a “March from Bay to Beach” and a protest rally at the storm’s “ground zero” on Saturday, July 18th.

    The Ortley Beach Voters and Taxpayers Association (OBVTA) and Stop FEMA Now want to call attention to Governor Christie’s unfulfilled promise to build a dune and beach protection system for thousands of homes from the New Jersey oceanfront to the mainland on the west side of Barnegat Bay.

    They are asking the governor, the NJ attorney general, the state Department of
    Environmental Protection and the US Army Corps of Engineers to “get the stalled beach replenishment project underway here immediately.”

    “This project will build substantial dunes and widen our beaches, providing us with the protection we so critically need to hold back future storm surges,” according to Paul Jeffrey, OBVTA president.

    “Congress has already funded the entire project, as well as 50 years of replenishing and maintenance — but almost three years after the storm, the state has failed to complete the paperwork to obtain the easements necessary to make this project happen. We urge them to begin legal proceedings immediately, before another major disaster occurs.”

    Members of the Toms River Township Council will participate in the rally, and county, state and federal officials have been invited. A police escort will temporarily halt traffic on Route 35 so the marchers can cross it on a busy Saturday morning.

    “We’ll assemble at the Moose Lodge at 9:30 a.m.,” Jeffrey said. The lodge is at 1801 Bay Boulevard, Ortley Beach.

    He invited “everyone who cares about the Jersey shore” to join the march along its route to the township beach at Third Avenue. The rally will take place at 10:30 on the Ortley Beach boardwalk, near 4 Third Avenue and Ocean Avenue. .

    “This is the shore’s most important issue, because rebuilding homes and infrastructure is useless if we have no protection from the next big storm,“ Jeffrey asserted. He urged the state to pursue the few remaining easements needed south of Mantoloking “but don’t hold up the rest of the project because the Jenkinson’s company in Point Pleasant and some residents of Bay Head don’t want it.

    “The Army Corps’ current plan to delay the project until all the easements are obtained could delay the project for years. That leaves the communities south of Bay Head that were most devastated by Sandy vulnerable. Higher dunes and wider beaches will protect both the barrier island and properties all along the mainland bayshore.”

    “The time for action is now,” stated George Kasimos of Toms River, head of Stop FEMA Now, as he agreed that the dune installation and beach replenishment should start this summer. As an advocate on behalf of thousands of homeowners hit by Sandy, his organization will take part in the Ortley Beach march and rally.

    Kasimos and OBVTA have experience in rallying members and getting public support. They recently held a protest rally in Trenton about the slow pace and numerous problems with the state’s housing recovery program, RREM (Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation, and Mitigation).

    Last year, with thousands of members in affiliated groups across the country,
    Stop FEMA Now activists pushed Congress to pass the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act. This year it successfully convinced FEMA to reopen 140,000 flood
    insurance claims after fraud and underpayments were discovered.

  • Spell Check

    These people paid millions of dollars for there ocean front properties so they do have a say i cant blame them and neither can you it is there property not yours, Some of these dunes were built fast after the storm incorrectly by builders who did not know what they were doing. after homeowners already paid hundreds of thousands of dollars now they dont wanna make there 10million dollar properties into public land . nor do they want beach dunes 22ft dunes so they cant see the ocean from there homes.

  • ABC123

    Thank goodness they won’t sign. These people are saving our island and the last bit of an ecosystem that we have. If you think that replenishment is what we need, then you have no idea what you are talking about.