🏖 Manasquan Inlet dredging to get underway in the next few days

🏖 There will be split work at first between Manasquan Inlet and Shark River Inlet before work is solely focused on Manasquan Inlet

🏖 A project and a plan long in the works to address marine life, beach life, and fishing industry is finally taking shape

There is news all mayors and towns along the coastal towns from the southern shore end of Monmouth County and from the northern barrier island communities in Ocean County have longed to hear: that dredging will commence in the Manasquan Inlet.

(Photo Courtesy: U.S. Congressman Chris Smith's Office)
(Photo Courtesy: U.S. Congressman Chris Smith's Office)

An announcement was made on Monday afternoon by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. 4th District, that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers head to the Manasquan Inlet as early as this week to commence a massive dredging operation that will help marine traffic and beaches.

“The Army Corps will conduct significant dredging of the Manasquan Inlet over the next two weeks in response to repeated concerns brought to me by local anglers to ensure the channel is safe for boat traffic and to mitigate any potential hazards like the large sandbar that developed last summer,” Smith said in a written statement.

Beach replenishment at 3rd Avenue Beach in Seaside Park
Beach replenishment at 3rd Avenue Beach in Seaside Park (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

The dredging project will be split between the Manasquan Inlet and Shark River Inlet with the ladder getting a primary focus from the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Manasquan Inlet will receive one to two loads of sand each day while the split project gets going but the Army Corps of Engineers will dedicate all their time there once they complete work at the Shark River Inlet.

How the dredging for the Manasquan Inlet came to be

Smith has made helping beach towns recover and build back up a priority in recent years and this dredging project is one result of those efforts.

In August 2022, Smith requested an emergency survey of the Manasquan Inlet and that was done on Jan. 10, looking into the threats posed to fishing and boating season as well as the dissipation of sand.

Manasquan inlet
Manasquan inlet (Bud McCormick)

While a survey was done, Smith requested additional surveys follow up every few weeks to ensure continued safety as well as health of beaches.

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“Ensuring the safety of our local fishing and boating community is of paramount importance,” said Smith. “I am grateful for the Army Corp’s response and commitment to keep the waterway clear for our local recreational and commercial vessels as well as their dedicated follow through over the past few months. Especially with the temperate weather we expect over the next few weeks, the Army Corps’ dredging comes not a moment too soon."

There have been ongoing efforts to restore protect Jersey Shore beaches

It was around this time last year that Smith announced that there would be $30.2 million secured for beach replenishment work to be done by the Army Corps of Engineers in Jersey Shore towns along the coast.

"My work on behalf of beach replenishment and the Shore has been non-stop. The mayors are going a great job, they're trying to, obviously, make their beaches and the properties on the shoreline more resilient to storms," Smith told Townsquare Media News at the time. "Every time we get a storm, there's always some significant damage."

Sand dunes on the beach. (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)
Sand dunes on the beach. (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)

In September of 2022, as New Jersey drew closer to marking 10 years since Superstorm Sandy ravaged the Jersey Shore, Ocean County Commissioners announced that they would appropriate $4 million in funds of the $30 million left to be paid to the Army Corps of Engineers -- after Congressman Smith secured $30 million -- for beach replenishment work to be done in Berkeley Township, Seaside Park, Seaside Heights, Toms River, Lavallette, Brick, Mantoloking, Bay Head, and Point Pleasant Beach.

Manasquan Inlet
Manasquan Inlet (Bud McCormick)

What happens next at the Jersey Shore is still to be determined

This dredging project and the beach replenishment news that came prior to will help but more work is needed to help Ocean and Monmouth County coastal municipalities build up dunes, protect the beaches, residents, marine life, the fishing industry, and related matters.

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