Agreement Reached For Massive Beach Fill Project Coming To Avalon This Winter
Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi announced that the Borough will be receiving a substantial hydraulic beach fill project that will begin in the coming weeks and restore the north end beaches in the Borough to their full federal template. This beach fill will likely not result in a municipal financial contribution and will provide for one of the largest beach fill projects history. The beach fill project comes despite the United State Fish and Wildlife Service’s misapplication of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, which all agencies had to work through in order to bring this public safety project to the community.
“This beach fill project was initially beset with unique challenges and obstacles, but thanks to our proactive vision and leadership from the Borough, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and United States Army Corps of Engineers we were able to get this project to the table and in place”, Mayor Pagliughi said. “All of the parties involved recognized the need to figure out a unique solution, and we were able to provide the necessary protection our town needs before the next storm season over the objections raised by an advisory agency”.
A large contract has been awarded by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, LLC of Illinois, which will use the dredge “Texas” to perform this nourishment. Mobilization for the beach fill project is expected to begin before the end of January with the beach fill project starting in Stone Harbor, and taking about four weeks to complete; following the Stone Harbor project, the hydraulic pumping of sand from Townsend’s Inlet onto the Avalon beaches will begin in February. It is possible that this could be one of the largest beach fill projects in Avalon’s history with funding place to pump a maximum quantity of 940,000 cubic yards of sand on the Borough’s north end beaches from 9th Street south to just north of 38th Street. The actual quantity of sand needed to restore the beachfront to the federal template will be determined in the coming weeks. This beach fill project will repair damage to the Avalon beaches created by an October, 2015 nor’easter event and Winter Storm Jonas in 2016.
The project will begin on the 9th Street beach and move in a southerly direction. The dredge pipe will extend from Townsend’s Inlet over the 8th Street Jetty to the beaches. Section of pipe will be added as the project moves in a southerly direction towards 38thh Street during the mid and late winter months. The “Texas” can produce a maximum volume of 50,000 cubic yards of sand per day, making this nearly a month-long project. Sand pumping could begin in Stone Harbor as early as January 27th. There is more than enough available sand in Townsend’s Inlet to conduct this hydraulic beach project for Avalon.
This project also includes repair work to Avalon dunes and crossovers on beach paths. There will be intermittent beach closings stretching about 1,000 feet as this work is being conducted. Once dredging begins, it will only be stopped due to mechanical maintenance or poor weather conditions.
This beach fill project was initially threatened by an application of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act which prevented Stone Harbor from using federal funding to withdraw sand from Hereford Inlet even though that has been past practice in prior beach fills. Avalon’s Mayor, Council, and Administration worked with the member agencies and Stone Harbor to construct a financial arrangement that removed this obstacle. “This last-minute application of the Act was callous, uncalled for, unprecedented, and arbitrary”, Mayor Pagliughi said. “The United States Fish and Wildlife Agency ignored past policy and exceptions in the Act that should have made the harvesting of sand out of Hereford Inlet to the benefit of Stone Harbor and Avalon residents a very easy decision. This agency overstepped its bounds, and I congratulate the federal, state, and local governments coming to together to make sure this beach fill provides a protective beach in advance of the storm season. Avalon continues to relentlessly pursue both legal and legislative remedies to this Act to make sure that the protection of lives and property comes first with every future beach fill project”.
The Borough of Avalon has contracted with Dr. Stewart Farrell of the Coastal Resource Center of Stockton University since the late 1980’s. Dr. Farrell’s latest survey on Hereford Inlet shows that over 5,064,085 cubic yards of new sand has been added to the Stone Harbor beach, and sand volumes have returned exponentially to the northeast corner of the barrier island.
Updates on this project will be available on Avalon’s municipal website, www.avalonboro.net.