Two years and 11 months after Superstorm Sandy dumped tons of sand into Deal Lake, clogging its flow and impairing its value as a recreational resource, the Christie Administration takes the final step toward siphoning the dregs out.

Deal Lake, Deal Lake Commission Web Page

Tri-State Dredging of Philadelphia won the $1.66 million dollar contract to clear 12,000 cubic yards of muck. It's funded mostly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is chipping in $154,600 in matching funds.

Prior to this point, most of the work has involved debris removal, state officials said.

It's the last of 17 NRCS-funded recovery projects related to Superstorm damage in coastal bodies of water, according to NRCS New Jersey Director Carrie Lindig.

In a prepared release, Deal Lake Commission Chairman Don Brockel predicted that it would reduce flooding and its effects, improve water quality and reopen recreational avenues for boaters, fishing enthusiasts and nature lovers.

"We hope this will be the first of many other dredging projects that can make Deal Lake more flood resilient and to fully restore it back to pre-Sandy conditions," Brockel said.

Monmouth County's largest man-made coastal lake contains 158 acres within 12.5 miles of shoreline, abutting Asbury Park, Deal, Interlaken, Allenhurst, Loch Arbour, Neptune Township and Ocean Township.

DEP and NRCS are also collaborating on a $3.85 million-dollar flood hazard control project for Wreck Pond, in Spring Lake, Spring Lake Heights, Sea Girt and Wall Township. DEP has completed repair projects at Lake Fletcher, Lake Como, Lake Takanassee, Silver Lake, Lake Wesley and Sylvan Lake.