Ortley Beach residents are running out of patience as they continue waiting for New Jersey to begin the federal Army Corps of Engineers replenishment project almost three years after Super Storm Sandy. 

Damage from Sandy in Ortley Beach
Damage from Sandy in Ortley Beach (Township of Toms River)

The community, dubbed Ground Zero, after the devastating hurricane, remains unprotected from future storms. The Ortley Beach Voters and Taxpayers Association and Stop FEMA Now are teaming up again this Saturday to hold a protest seeking to get the project started immediately. The two groups rallied in Trenton in May over Sandy-related issues.

Paul Jeffrey, President of the Ortley Voters and Taxpayers Association, said legal actions filed to prevent work in Point Pleasant Beach and Bay Head continue stalling the northern portion of the project, but the southern portion should be able to get started since most of the necessary easements have been obtained from Mantoloking south to Barnegat Inlet.

"It's going to take over a year to do the project anyway. Get the project started here. We desperately need this protection from storms, and worry about the northern portion later," said Jeffrey.

Jeffrey said state and federal officials provided three sets of start dates as far back as 18 months ago.

"They've missed every single one," he said.

The Army Corps has indicated the project cannot be split up, because of the way it is funded.  However, Toms River officials last week said officials with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection were in discussions with the Army Corps to possibly allow that to happen, but that nothing concrete had been decided.

The project isn't expected to begin until 2016 and Toms River officials anticipate it could take until 2017 before the Township sees the completion of its first dune.

Saturday's protest will begin at 9:30 a.m. from the Moose Lodge at 1801 Bay Boulevard in Ortley with marchers making their way across Route 35 to the Third Avenue Beach Boardwalk for a rally at 10:30 a.m., according to Jeffrey.


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