The Christie Administration has awarded a nearly $1.66 million contract to remove sand pushed by Superstorm Sandy into Deal Lake, the largest in a series of unique coastal lakes in Monmouth County that were severely impacted by the storm.
According to the announcement from the Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin, the contract to dredge 12,000 cubic yards of material was awarded to Tri-State Dredging of Philadelphia.
The project is being funded through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service, with NRCS providing more than $1.5 million through its Emergency Watershed Protection program and DEP a $154,600 match.
“We are very pleased to be moving forward with the Deal Lake dredging project,” said Commissioner Martin. “This project will focus on removing silt and sand from six acres of the easternmost portion of the lake.”
Removal of this sand will make the lake more accessible for recreation and will restore natural flushing of the lake by removing sand adjacent to the ‘flume’ gatehouse that currently restricts tidal flow.
Don Brockel, Chairman of the Deal Lake Commission, said the project will reduce flooding and its impacts, improve water quality and reopen recreational opportunities on the lake, long popular among boaters, anglers, canoeists, kayakers, paddle boaters and nature lovers.
Dredging of the lake is expected to begin next month and will take about 90 days to complete, under permits issued by the DEP and the Army Corps of Engineers. The work has been scheduled for the fall to avoid impacts on local roadways and summer tourism. This portion of the lake will be restored to a depth of four feet.
Deal Lake is a 158-acre manmade body of water with 12.5 miles of shoreline that has served as a recreational haven treasured for its beauty and utilized by residents and vacationers for fishing and boating for more than a century.
Initial work on restoration of the lake took place after Sandy with the removal of many tons of debris, including splintered wood from docks, trees and mangled pieces of structures. The flume gate house has also been restored.
The DEP is also working with the federal Natural Resource and Conservation Service to fund $6 million in restoration projects, including the Deal Lake project and a $3.85 million flood hazard control project for 73-acre Wreck Pond, owned by Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Wall and Spring Lake Heights. The DEP has already completed a variety of dredging, infrastructure repair and stabilization projects at Lake Fletcher, Lake Como, Lake Takanassee, Lake Wesley, Silver Lake and Sylvan Lake.