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Dune Restoration A Crucial Part of Brick's Recovery from Sandy

Dunes were pulverized by powerful storm

"I used to have a 24 foot dune out there," said Frank Gallagher, a resident of Brick's barrier island portion. "Now, you look out right onto the ocean, and it's a very scary situation."

Gallagher told township council members this week he is afraid another storm could cause damage to his home that is still standing after Hurricane Sandy.

The issue of dune restoration is a crucial one for homeowners in essentially every community that fronts the ocean. Without protective dunes, homes even blocks away could be at risk. And if the ocean breaches the barrier island, as it did near the Mantoloking Bridge during Sandy, rushing water could cause flooding even on the western shore of Barnegat Bay.

State officials were as concerned as anyone, and in the immediate aftermath of Sandy, commented on the great extent to which the dunes were destroyed.

In Brick, restoring the dunes will be both a short-term and long-term project, officials said.

"We have one contractor out there right now doing dune restoration," said Business Administrator Scott Pezarras. "He's pushing as much up as he can."

The current plan includes taking sand washed onto local streets by the storm and pushing it back to the beach to form a berm.

"We are in an effort to secure as much of the beach, by pushing up some sand, as we can," said Pezarras.

Another technique the township has been using to help restore dunes in the short-term is acquiring storm fencing, which Pezarras said is a "hot commodity" right now.

The initial, short-term work is a quick fix to help prevent additional damage to township neighborhoods.

Dune restoration work is one of the many expenditures for which the township can be expected to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agenca (FEMA).

Pezarras said long-term dune restoration is "very preliminary phased right now."

Fortunately, in the wake of Sandy, state officials have alleviated lengthy permitting requirements that normally come with dune restoration projects, said Pezarras.

"There are so many moving parts to the recovery process, it's just mind-boggling," he said.

Donna Griffin November 16, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Don - How much erosion occurred in Lavallette with this storm? I've not really seen a picture of the state of their beach. They have a jetty system, but for the past 10 years the beach has still gotten narrower. Granted, they fared better in Sandy than surrounding communities but I'm thinking more in terms of the barriers/sea wall with healthy dunes on top as a longer term solution.
Donna Griffin November 16, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Don - It'll always be the "old Thunderbird" to us locals. No harm intended Ocean Club but no need to be so sensitive.
Lauren November 17, 2012 at 12:48 AM
I lost my summer home and my family is devastated. Bottom line.....dunes need to be restored, beaches and homes need to be protected and the barrier island needs to be rebuilt. My heart goes out to everyone that lost something or someone in this terrible storm.
Joe P November 17, 2012 at 01:13 AM
I hope each town on the barrier island seriously re-thinks their re-development plan for the beach and bayfront before haphazard rebuilding begins.
Jeff November 17, 2012 at 04:47 AM
Someone start a program to collect all the unsold Christmas trees in the tri-state area and dump them in the dunes. It not a cure all but for the price of transporting them they would act similar to snow fencing. Sand would probably gather around them faster than snow fence and as a bonus wouldn’t have all that nasty wire laying around when they breakdown. Some of the critters and birds probably would take up residence until the dune vegetation is reestablished.

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