RED BANK: LIVING SHORELINE HITS HARD STOP

WhatsGoingOnHererbpl bulkhead 061016 2The new Navesink River bulkhead at the Red Bank Public Library, as seen from the natural shoreline at Maple Cove. Below, a June, 1906 Red Bank Register article reported on Sigmund Eisner’s plans for the property, including the installation of a bulkhead. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
eisner bulkhead June 6, 1906

This month 110 years ago, the Navesink River site that would later become the home of the Red Bank Public Library was about to get its first bulkhead.

Over the ensuing century, such hard-stop bulkheads came to be regarded as a flawed means of protecting shorelines: less effective at blunting storm ravages than natural shores, and unfriendly to marine life. So when it authorized a controversial new bulkhead two years ago, the borough council relented to public pressure and asked that the replacement incorporate whatever elements possible to make it more like a so-called living shoreline.

In the end, however, the new bulkhead, completed this month. is pretty much the same as the old one.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL OKS HYBRID BULKHEAD

elijah nishiura 072314Red Bank Regional sophomore Elijah Nishiura, center, chats with Environmental Commission chairwoman Laura Bagwell, left, and Carl Alderson, a marine resources specialist at NOAA, after the council voted to restore the rotting library bulkhead, below.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb lib bulkhead 2 071013A hotly opposed proposal to rebuild the bulkhead at the Red Bank Public Library won approval from the borough council Wednesday night, though the new structure may now incorporate elements of a so-called living shoreline favored by environmentalists.

Then again, the matter could be headed to court if the hybrid approach fails appease the library’s next-door neighbors, whose lawyer continued to imply that he’d sue if anything less than an abrupt wall along the library’s Navesink River frontage is constructed.

“The merits of the living shoreline are neither here nor there,” Michael Vitiello, the attorney for the Corinthian Cove condos, told the council before it voted on the issue. “My clients feel that if you remove the bulkhead… we are no longer going to have lateral support for our earth.”

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RED BANK: BULKHEAD REBUILD ON AGENDA

rb lib bulkhead 4 071013Borough residents are on the hook for replacing the library bulkhead, at right, where environmentalists argue a natural shoreline should be restored.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Its scientists and policy experts may be thought leaders on issues of global warming and ways to head it off. But on the matter of the Navesink River bulkhead at the Red Bank Public Library, Harvard University can’t be bothered to speak, it appears.

Harvard’s continued silence almost a year after Mayor Pasquale Menna reached out to the university for help on a legal issue is about to cost Red Bank taxpayers and, environmentalists contend, result in a wrongheaded fix along the shoreline.

A controversial plan to rebuild the crumbling bulkhead, rather than allow for the restoration of a natural shoreline, is expected to move ahead Wednesday night.

It’s time for “finality” on the issue, which involves insurance and liability issues as well as environmental ones, Menna told redbankgreen Monday.

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