New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew has announced a fix to a 2016 objection from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that made it cost prohibitive for local towns to conduct a beach renourishment project that protects life and property from flood and coastal storm damage.
The project impacts Avalon, Stone Harbor and North Wildwood.
The 2016 objection by the Service had stalled the critical renourishment project, leaving residents vulnerable, due to the expected cost increase of over $6.5 million, according to the latest announcement from the congressman’s office.
“The goals of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) are worthy goals, but in the case of the “Stone Harbor Project,” CBRA was creating unnecessary red tape that was having the opposite effect of its original intent,” said Van Drew.
“Thanks to the efforts of all three communities, as well as our Congressman, we finally have a permanent, common-sense solution to this matter,” added Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi.
“Secretary Bernhardt came to the meeting with a full understanding of our issue and was quick to point out that the federal statute has exceptions that apply to Hereford Inlet. Avalon is grateful that the sand supply in the Inlet can be used for protection of our sister communities, Stone Harbor and North Wildwood, while Townsend’s Inlet remains as a sand supply for Avalon’s beaches.”
The 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.
In 1996, the Service granted an exception to the U.S. 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 New Jersey Shore Protection, Townsends Inlet to Cape May Inlet.
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.