SEA BRIGHT: BEACH RESTORATION SLATED

A remnant of the old Route 36 Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge found on the Sea Bright municipal beach, where erosion from recent storms is evident, below. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

After an eventful, landscape-shifting offseason, sand will again be on the move this summer in Sea Bright.

The federal government is expected to give the borough and neighboring shore communities a helping hand by fully funding a project to replenish storm-scoured beaches, town officials said. And a private contracting firm will use its  resources to move the massive “Mount Sandy” now occupying a municipal parking lots back onto the beaches and into sand dunes by May.

Earlier this week, the borough council awarded a contract for dune restoration to James R. Ientile of Marlboro.

According to Councilman Read Murphy, the firm will take and clean the sand that has been collected from around town and spread it out on the beach, in an effort unrelated to the federal replenishment project. Murphy also said Ientile will build more sand dunes along the shore, which may help protect Sea Bright against future storms – and end Mount Sandy’s five-month stay in the Peninsula House lot.

“We need to get it out of there, it’s really impeding our progress,” Murphy told redbankgreen.

At the same meeting, Mayor Dina Long spoke of the upcoming federal beach replenishment project, which she highlighted as good news for the borough.

“We are going to get a beach replenishment, coming from Federal Coastal Emergency Aid, which means there’s no local share – this time we won’t have to put up millions of dollars for beach replenishment, and all our beaches will be replenished,” Long said.

According to Long and Murphy, the end-goal of the beach replenishment – a process in which off-shore drag-arm dredges pump sand onshore – will be to restore the shoreline to its 1993 profile, after the first beach replenishment, the initial stage of a 50-year replenishment project.

The Army Corps of Engineers has put out an intention to bid for the project, with the first leg spanning from Sandy Hook to Manasquan, according to Long. The entire Jersey shore project will cost somewhere around $1.9 billion, Murphy said, though he said it would be too difficult to estimate the cost for Sea Bright’s replenishment alone before it actually takes place.

Despite the hefty price-tag, Murphy said the replenishment project is much-needed for Sea Bright, and the federal funding is a direct result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, as well as the subsequent Northeasters, which did just as much, if not more, damage to the Borough’s beaches.

“Parts of the sea-wall that used to stand 10 to 15 feet are now 20 to 25 feet off the ground,” Murphy said. “The profile of our beach was completely changed.”

Murphy said that the replenishment will begin sometime around May in Monmouth Beach and could reach Sea Bright sometime in June or July, depending on how many dredges are used.

“If they are only using one, it may take a little longer, but if they use a couple, they can really speed up the process and blow it out,” he added.