The call to increase New Jersey beach replenishment funding to $50 million is being supported by an online petition sponsored by the Jersey Shore Partnership. The petition will be delivered to the New Jersey State House, the New Jersey State Senate and Governor Chris Christie.
“The present $25 million/year Shore Protection Fund is critically underfunded and insufficient to meet anticipated costs of New Jersey’s coastal restoration projects. An increase to $50 million in the Fund is needed now to protect New Jersey’s coastal infrastructure and the $19 billion shore tourism economy,” the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce said in its announcement.
Current funding of $25 million/year has not been increased since its original legislation in 1992. Coastal protection programs must include back bays, barrier islands and the inland waterways that are sources of flooding for coastal and urban communities, they added.
According to Steve Morey, representing the Chamber’s Environment & Legislative Committee, “Beach protection and replenishment is without a doubt, Cape May County’s most critical issue. It affects our quality of life, tourism driven economy, employment opportunities, and uniquely fragile eco-system.”
New Jersey’s coastal counties, including the Delaware Bay contribute over $20 billion of the state’s $42 billion tourism industry, according to the 2014 New Jersey Tourism Economic Impact report.