At last week’s House Natural Resources Committee hearing, New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew informed Secretary David Bernhardt of the U.S. Department of the Interior about the problems facing the Borough of Stone Harbor in relation to the Coastal Barrier Resources Act.
“CBRA was passed in 1982 to prohibit federal financial assistance for development on coastal barriers with the goals to minimize the loss of life and property, reduce wasteful expenditures and protect our natural resources,” said Van Drew in his announcement.
“In 1996, however, the Fish and Wildlife Service granted an exception to the Army Corps to use sand from a borrow area located at Hereford Inlet in Coastal Barrier Resources System Unit NJ-09 for a flood and coastal storm damage reduction project called the Stone Harbor Project. This project not only protects the coastline from storm damage, but it created more than one mile of critical habitat at Stone Harbor Point for a variety of migratory birds.”
Over the years, this borrow site has been used to renourish the Stone Harbor coastline three times.
In 2016, under the previous administration, the Fish and Wildlife Service arbitrarily reversed its prior decision and revoked the exception that allowed the Stone Harbor to use sand from the borrow area at Hereford Inlet. This decision increased project costs by more than $6.5 million that were borne by taxpayers.
Van Drew is now seeking to fix this Obama-era mistake made by Washington bureaucrats and reduce project costs by at least $6.5 million as Stone Harbor seeks to renourish its coastline once again.
“The goals of CBRA are worthy goals, but in the case of the Stone Harbor Project, CBRA is creating unnecessary red tape that will have the opposite effect of what CBRA intended,” said Van Drew.
If this problem does not get corrected as soon as possible, Stone Harbor will not be able to get its beach renourished and therefore remain vulnerable going into the winter storm season.