Seaside Heights plans to build a sea wall courtesy of MTV's Jersey Shore, is being met with criticism from environmentalist.

Damage to Casino Pier in Seaside Heights from the air. (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel says Seaside Heights needs to come up with a comprehensive plan that includes building dunes instead of a sea wall.





"Well they don't work and they're ugly. You build up a wall and what happens is, when the water hits the wall, the force of the waves instead of dissipating over the sand dunes actually concentrates and goes straight down causing the beaches to erode faster."

Tittel also says sea walls can cause more harm than good by forcing flood waters around them and further inland, raising flood water levels and harming neighboring communities without the barriers.

However, Stevens Institute of Technology Coastal Engineering Professor Dr. Jon Miller says he prefers dunes and robust beaches as well but says sea walls can work as a third line of defense like it did in Bay Head. He also notes that neither Sea Bright nor Monmouth Beach would exist without a sea wall.

"I think beaches and dunes are the preferred protection method but I think sea walls can be a part of the solution if used in a kind of well thought out way. Sort of as a last line of defense, they can have some benefits"

The NJ Sierra Club is calling for an overall comprehensive approach that not only calls for dunes but elevating structures, moving them back from the water's edge, limiting development in flood plains, providing buyouts for buildings that are continuously flooded and put policies in place that will combat climate change.