To keep Ocean County's beaches healthy, the annual planting of dune grass and installation of special fencing meant to preserve the beachfront will take place next month.

Beach replenishment project in Monmouth Beach (US Army Corp of Engineers)

About $100,000 will be spent on the project, which will span throughout the beaches of Ocean County and dedicate $30,000 towards the planting of dune grass and seventy thousand towards twenty miles of fencing.

Ocean County Planning Director Dave McKeon says it's an important investment since it provides tangible improvements to the beach, especially during a time when the Army Corps of Engineers is having trouble keeping up with the numerous larger replenishment projects.

"There's various issues with funding, regulation, easement purchases, and so on; so those projects are just way behind." Says McKeon.

McKeon notes one of the advantages of the dune grass and fence distribution program is the dunes build upon what has grown from the year before. Meaning towns can build up stability in their beaches at a fraction of the cost of what the Army Corps of Engineers requires.

He adds they have been lucky in the past few years by avoiding major coastal storms that can contribute to beach erosion.

Priority of how much grass and fencing is distributed will be based on how much beachfront territory a municipality has.

The fences and grasses will be installed and planted respectively into dunes, and McKeon says the goal is for the fences to be completely below the sand and the dune grass to continue growing.

"The tops of the grass keep growing and the roots go down and really if you're looking at a dune with grass on it that's ten feet high, you've basically got a root system that's ten feet deep that's holding that grass into place."
Fencing will be installed in a zig zag pattern intentionally according to McKeon. "That is to take advantage of the winds. If it was a straight line of a fence, and the wind is running down the fence, it's not going to capture the grass."

The grass comes from Church's Nursery in Cape May, who won the contract through a bidding process for the past several years.

Municipalities on Long Beach Island will get the first deliveries starting on October 5th, the northern coastal towns will receive the second deliveries on November 2nd.