The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded more than $51 million in Public Assistance grants for waterway debris removal in New Jersey from Superstorm Sandy.

Home being removed from Barnegat Bay (Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media NJ)

The State Department of Environmental Protection will used the money to pay contractors in coastal areas for the loading, hauling, disposal and monitoring of Sandy debris throughout the state’s waterways.

Nearly 60 homes were swept into Barnegat Bay as a result of Sandy, and contractors and state officials have worked since then to remove cars, vessels, buildings, docks, sections of boardwalks, furniture and vegetative debris from New Jersey’s coastal and tidal waterways stretching from Bergen County to Cape May and in areas of the Delaware Bay.

State officials say significant progress has been made cleaning up the debris, including the removal of 85 percent of debris from the state’s waterways; the clearing of 83 percent of Department of Transportation channels; the clearing of 71 percent of storm-impacted marinas; and the removal of 79 percent of abandoned vessels and vehicles.

An additional $2.3 million Public Assistance grant money was awarded to the town of Avon-By-The-Sea for the use of contractors to rebuild Sandy-damaged structures including the Avon Boardwalk and seawall.