At-risk beach in Monmouth County, NJ about to get pumped with sand
LONG BRANCH — A New Jersey beach that's considered to be one of the most vulnerable to storms is about to get the makeover it needs.
Beach replenishment in the Elberon section of Long Branch is expected to begin in the new year and wrap up by March 1, officials announced on Tuesday.
During a press conference along the beach, Joseph Seebode with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said dredges are expected to arrive in the area and begin pumping sand on or about Jan. 10. A third dredge may be used to ensure that the project is completed by spring.
"Let's all hope for calm seas, no nor'easters, and good weather, so project delivery will be smooth," Seebode said.
The Army Corps plans to drop 1.2 million cubic yards of sand, starting at Lincoln Avenue and working north to Takanassee Lake at North Lake Drive.
"It's always cheaper to do beach replenishment than it is to wait for the storm to occur," said U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. 6th District.
Pallone noted that while projects like these may temporarily make beaches wider, tourism is "not even a consideration" during the beach fill process.
Opposition to beach replenishment
New Jersey Coastal Alliance was on hand for the Tuesday event to declare its opposition to this and other beach replenishment projects.
"We have seen these Army Corps projects result in destruction of marine life, the appearance of sand cliffs as much as 15 feet high, and even life-threatening sinkholes," Kushner, of the Alliance, told New Jersey 101.5 in an emailed statement. "Little is actually protected but the beachfront mansions of the ultra-rich at the expense of hardworking taxpayers."
The federal government is picking up 65% of the project's tab, Pallone said. That funding comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed last year. The other 35% is split between New Jersey, Monmouth County, and Long Branch.
Depending on how long it takes for the Elberon project to be completed, the Army Corps may decide to continue beach replenishment into Monmouth Beach or the West End section of Long Branch.
"Projects like this help us to better prepare and protect our communities," said Shawn LaTourette, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
LaTourette said New Jersey is ground zero for some of the worst impacts of climate change.
State officials and the Army Corps conduct surveys on an annual basis to determine which beaches are most at risk.