Storm wipes away some Jersey Shore beaches, leaving steep cliffs in sand
TOMS RIVER — How bad was the beach erosion from this week's nor'easter? Pictures coming back from the Jersey Shore show lots of missing beach but an initial assessment indicates that, overall, it may not be as bad as it looks
Ten to 20-foot waves battered the coast during the storm taking away huge chunks of beach.
But the state Department of Environmental Protection's Coastal Engineering team working on its initial assessment of damage to beaches and dunes along Jersey Shore found that out of 95 survey points, erosion damage levels ranged from none at all to minor at 73 of them from the nor'easter.
"In the other locations along the coast we have seen some moderate beach and dune erosion, with a few areas of some more significant erosion on Long Beach Island," spokesman Bob Considine said, citing Beach Haven and Holgate where "sections of significant erosion and drop off points from the dune to beach of about 5-10 feet."
No structures were damaged, according to the initial assessment.
"In Northern Ocean County, we viewed scarping of a temporary dune up to the boardwalk in Ortley Beach. There was dune overtopping in Bay Head, along with increased exposure to the rock wall. The steel sheeting revetment in Mantoloking and Brick now has exposure in many locations along the 3-1/2 mile project – although the wall had some exposure in Brick prior to the storm," Considine said.
Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty said his borough's beaches withstood 24-36 straight hours of strong winds pounding the sand that acts as natural protection from storm surges and flooding as well. "The water came up the beach a good amount but didn't get to the boardwalk or out to the road," Doherty said.
Between erosion from the nor'easter and a storm in 2013, Doherty said that the Army Corp of Engineers needs to come in and replenish beach.
"It's seems to happen once every 20-plus years, unfortunately. We talk with Congressman Pallone along with Senators Menendez and Booker. We always petition for it but the federal government is not in the best financial situation so it's tough to get the financial resources we need. They're really the ones to do it," Doeherty said, adding that the entire shore is likely in need of replenishment at a cost in the millions of dollars.
North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello said his city is "bringing in a contractor under an emergency contract to fix the worse sections. Estimate it is going to cost between $150,000-$200,000 to stabilize the area and protect JFK Boulevard."
Erosion has closed down beach access from the 5th Avenue ramp until further notice in North Wildwood.
Ocean County Sheriff Mike Mastronardy said that the country Office of Emergency Management will take to the air to assess the erosion on Wednesday morning. From the ground Mastrodardy said "some places have a major but it's nothing abnormal we haven't seen before."
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com