The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Coastal Engineering is expediting a project that will clear dangerous shoals from Little Egg Inlet, a major thoroughfare for boat traffic between southern Long Beach Island and Brigantine to the south.
The sand will be used to replenish beaches on portions of southern Long Beach Island lost to storms over the past several months, NJDEP stated in its release.
At the direction of Commissioner Bob Martin, the Division of Coastal Engineering is developing permit applications, design plans and contract specifications with the expectation of going out to bid for the multimillion-dollar project next month.
“This situation has become critical so we are moving forward, using state money, to dredge the channel and make it safe again for everyone who needs this vital access for fishing and recreation,” Commissioner Martin said.
“We need to take action to get this channel dredged for the safety and enjoyment of the public this summer season.”
The U.S. Coast Guard this week pulled buoys marking the channel due to concerns that buildup of sand in the channel has gotten too severe for safe passage of boats. The Coast Guard also warned boaters that if they use the inlet they would be doing so at their own risk, NJDEP said.
An estimated 1 million to 1.5 million cubic yards of sand will be dredged to create a channel that is 25 feet below mean sea level.