Wreck Pond, which has long plagued residents and beach goers in southern Monmouth County, will receive much needed funding for a federally-led study to identify the best way to combat the significant hazards associated with drainage problems at the pond, said Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) who represents Spring Lake and the surrounding area.
Smith, who has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on Wreck Pond and other other recovery projects, said that the corps’ decision came in the Second Interim Report on Superstorm Sandy published late last week, and that the Corps included the estimated $2.5 million feasibility study for the cleanup of Wreck Pond. Under federal law, in the USACE process the clean-up project cannot more forward without the feasibility study.
The Army Corps listing of Wreck Pond ensures that the final study leading to construction will be fully funded by the federal government. Smith, whose congressional district includes hard-hit coastal areas in Monmouth and Ocean Counties along the Jersey Shore, praised the decision to move forward with these critical measures.
Wreck Pond, located in Spring Lake, N.J., is a 48-acre body of water in a residential area that has filled in with silt and pollutants and causes beach closures and home damage when it overflows.
“Superstorm Sandy highlighted the serious health, safety and economic consequences of flooding from our coastal lakes and the Army Corps has identified Wreck Pond as a top priority,” said Smith, who has worked with the Army Corps, NJDEP, Monmouth County and Spring Lake officials to provide a solution to mitigate the flood damage done by storms.
“This is another step forward in the efforts to clean up Wreck Pond, which has been a good example of federal, state, county and local officials working to resolve a difficult challenge,” Smith said. “The Army Corps can now build on past efforts and put forth a plan of action to eliminate the flood and pollution threats that Wreck Pond has caused Spring Lake residents.”
The Army Corps report was mandated by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (PL 113-2), which Smith and the New Jersey Delegation shepherded into law in January to assist the victims of Superstorm Sandy and mitigate the damages to individuals, business and properties along the shore in future weather events.
The report also lists “Authorized but Unconstructed” projects that will benefit from a 65/35 percent cost share (up from the normal 50/50 percent) between the federal/non-federal funding sources. The non-federal partner (such as State or local governments) will also be eligible for an extended payback period—up to 30 years—for the 35 percent of their costs which will lower them to spread out their annual outlays. New construction of the Manasquan to Barnegat beach renourishment project, as well as similar projects along the shore, will be subject to the new, more beneficial guidelines.
“While Monmouth County’s beaches have been replenished in previous years, the Manasquan to Barnegat projects have been the subject of ongoing delays. Our state is now afforded the opportunity to move forward with these projects in a cost-effective and timely manner,” said Smith. “We must get these projects going forward to mitigate future risks, protect both public health and our pristine shoreline and provide for the long-term sustainability of the coastal ecosystem and communities.”
Press Release, June 4, 2013