New Jersey is kicking off the unofficial start of summer this Memorial Day weekend with vastly improved beaches, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said yesterday during the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s annual State of the Shore event in Asbury Park.
“The beaches are in great shape, and we are ready for the 2015 summer season at the shore,” Commissioner Martin said. “The shore is the backbone of New Jersey’s $42 billion tourism economy. Last year our beaches were open 99.9 percent of the time, and we expect another fantastic year.”
Municipalities have done extensive work preparing beaches for the summer. Shore construction and replenishment projects are also underway to provide long-term protection of New Jersey’s shore communities with a comprehensive coastal protection system.
Major shore protection projects are currently underway in Monmouth, Ocean and Cape May counties, making wider beaches, dunes and berms in those areas.
In recent months, the Christie Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Philadelphia District launched a $128 million contract to complete beach and dune projects for nearly 13 miles of Ocean County’s Long Beach Island, including Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom, Beach Haven and a portion of Surf City; a $57.6-million project in southern Ocean City, the Strathmere section of Upper Township and Sea Isle City in Cape May County; and a $38.2 million project for Loch Arbour, Allenhurst and Deal. Two additional major, new shore protection projects are in the pipeline for Absecon Island and Northern Ocean County.
Last year, eight other projects were completed to restore pre-Sandy engineered beaches to their original design at a federal cost of $345 million.
These projects, which will provide much stronger protection than ever before, are being funded fully by the federal Disaster Appropriations Act of 2013.