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REPORT: BEACHES SHIPSHAPE FOR SUMMER

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Another mild winter in coastal terms left New Jersey’s 127 miles of beaches pretty much intact this year, a co-author of the 2007 State of the Shore Report told a gathering at Sandy Hook yesterday, according to the Asbury Park Press and the Star-Ledger.

“Our beaches received a nice respite” from November until mid-February, said Jon Miller, research assistant professor at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, told the Press.

From the Ledger:

Though the report is based on scientific studies and analyses conducted by Stevens through the consortium, with little bad news to pass on these past two years, the findings also have become somewhat of a pep rally for the state.

Miller identified key storm factors that spell trouble for a beach — wave heights, surges, timing and frequency. Those elements existed at such small levels this year they didn’t alarm scientists in any of the winter’s six storms.

Wave heights were generally 2 1/2 feet during many of the storms, compared with the 11 feet recorded off Long Beach Island during Tropical Storm Ernesto in September.

Storm surges, how high a wave crashes onto a beach, weren’t so bad, Miller said. Timing was mostly in the beaches’ favor — a storm surge with a high tide could be devastating, but many were either at low tide or neap tide (when high tides are at their lowest level of the month), he said.

From the Press:

The fifth annual State of the Shore news conference, sponsored by the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium and Stevens Institute, featured presentations and discussions on the conditions of the beaches, ocean water quality, public access, aquaculture and tourism.

Miller, the New Jersey sea grant coastal processes specialist, said “the beaches were actually in pretty good condition at the beginning” of the winter storm season because last year, as in recent years, there were no major storms.

This winter storm season, which ran from September to the end of April, also was “relatively mild,” he said.

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