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In N.J. beach replenishment, we are all in this together

bradleysandy110512_optBY GINA G. SCALA
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
COMMENTARY

Add to the list of lessons Hurricane Sandy left in her wake: size does matter. Sorry gentleman, but it’s true.

Coastal Jersey communities that put federal money to use in order to bulk up its beaches fared better than those that didn’t; reminding me of a conversation I had years ago with a former co-worker. He was against rebuilding on barrier islands following a super storm, like Sandy. In truth, he didn’t believe barrier islands should ever have been built upon.

I disagreed then, and I disagree now. As long as environmental concerns are factored into the plans and addressed in a way that leaves both sides a little pained (let’s face it; compromise is the only way), I am all for coastal living.

"It really, really works," Stewart Farrell, director of Stockton College's Coastal Research Center and a leading expert on beach erosion, told the Associated Press. "Where there was a federal beach fill in place, there was no major damage — no homes destroyed no sand piles in the streets. Where there was no beach fill, water broke through the dunes."

While Hurricane Sandy eroded major portions of the Garden State’s 127-mile coastline, there doesn’t seem to be any scars in Barnegat Light. That, Farrell said, is because of the wall designs of the Barnegat Inlet. Trapped sand on the beaches of Long Beach Island’s northern-most community naturally build dunes, some more than 2,4000 feet wide. Dunes manufactured by the Army Corp are about 150 feet wide.

Still, an attorney representing some Long Beach Island residents told the Barnegat/Manahawkin Patch, Hurricane Sandy’s path of destruction won’t deter his clients from pursuing a lawsuit against Island officials over a beach replenishment project. At issue are the easements, which are required by law, to be signed over to Long Beach Township before federal monies can be distributed for beach replenishment projects in several areas of the township.

”My clients are not against a reasonable and practical sand dune project,” said Kenneth A. Porro, of the law firm, Wells, Jaworski and Liebman. His clients maintain yielding the enduring easements would lower their property values.

Hmm … I believe its situations like these that pit the two sides against each other -- to rebuild and replenish the beaches or not.

Vice President Joe Biden, a former U.S. senator from Delaware, guaranteed the federal government would help rebuild New Jersey after touring obliterated neighborhoods in Seaside Heights and Hoboken.

“This is a national responsibility; this is not a local responsibility,” Biden said. “We’re one national government, and we have an obligation.”

Mr. Vice President, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve lived and worked at the Jersey Shore long enough to see license plates tooling around local roads that don’t bare the Garden State emblem.

 

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