Eagleswood Dredging Raises Concerns
The NJDEP is terminating the permits for the construction of a massive 225,000 cubic yard dredge spoil dump adjacent to residential homes, the Barnegat Bay and the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Eagleswood, Ocean County, according to the Environment New Jersey.
The action was directly related to a nine year struggle by Eagleswood citizens and a joint lawsuit filed by Environment New Jersey, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and Eagleswood citizens in late September 2014 to block the construction of the dredge spoil dump because of the violation of the Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA) and the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA).
The legal victory was clouded by recent activity involving bulldozers on the Dock Road site, at the request of NJDOT.
To prevent further illegal construction activity, the plaintiffs filed a “notice of appeal” last Friday on Earth Day against the DEP for its failure to prevent the DOT from engaging in such site clearance activities as cutting trees down and slicing crude roads through the site.
“By filing in both courts against the DEP and DOT we are covering all our bases,” said Bill Potter, the plaintiff’s attorney from the Potter and Dickson law firm. “The DEP refuses to enforce the law against the DOT and the DOT is taking the law into its own hands, which compels us to file this new round of litigation.”
Plaintiffs have also submitted a “notice of intent to sue” the DOT for engaging in site clearance activities without proper permits at the 26-acre Eaglewood site because the DOT lacks permits to do any construction along the Barnegat Bay at the Eagleswood site.
The dredging project would remove at least 139,000 cubic yards of spoils from the nearby Westecunk Creek, which would be dumped at the end of Dock Road at a 26-acre site. The DEP proposal was to make the proposed dredge spoil site a Regional Dredge Spoil Facility.