Reconstruction of the beach on Ludlum Island this spring will begin at the northernmost end of Strathmere after all, according to announcement of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Originally, construction of that northernmost tip of the beach, next to Corson’s Inlet, had been postponed until the fall because it is a known nesting ground for the piping plover. Severe erosion of the beach led to the scheduling change.
On January 6, officials from the Army Corps, the DEP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Upper Township met at Corson’s Inlet and agreed to permit construction there this spring. Normally beachfill operations are prohibited at known plover nesting grounds from March to September, in accordance with federal law protecting endangered species.
After touring the Corson’s Inlet site, however, the officials concluded that the beach is so severely eroded as to preclude the likelihood of plovers nesting there and agreed verbally to permit the exception to the plover rule.
Under the agreement, which will be formalized in writing, the beach will be monitored before and during construction to ensure that indeed, there are no plovers and no nests are disturbed.
The overall schedule of the project, which involves the southern end of Ocean City as well as Ludlum Island (Strathmere and Sea Isle) has not changed. Work on the Strathmere-Sea Isle section is expected to begin in April. Work on Ocean City is expected to begin in May. Both sections are expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company will perform the work under a $57.6 million contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The federal government is assuming 100 percent of the cost of the initial construction under the terms of the Sandy relief act that Congress passed in 2013.
The project is a partnership between the Army Corps and the NJDEP. Going forward the DEP will assume 50 percent of the cost. The DEP in turn requires one-quarter of its share to come from the municipalities involved.
The beachfill in Ocean City, from 34th Street to 59th Street, will entail construction of a dune approximately 13 feet above sea level and a berm (or beach) 100 feet wide. That is expected to require a minimum of 1.6- million cubic yards of sand.
In Strathmere and Sea Isle, the dune will be approximately 15 feet in elevation and the berm 50 feet wide, requiring a minimum of 2.6 million cubic yards of sand.