The township is restoring the Forked River Beach back to its original state before Hurricane Sandy struck the shoreline with additional riprap.
“We’re appreciative they’re responding,” said Pat Doyle, who continues to advocate for a more effective solution.
The Forked River Beach has lost 58 feet of sand in 15 years. After the water receded, the shoreline remained at residents’ fences.
“We need the buffer desperately,” Doyle said. “It’s important to push on for an effective fix.”
And the township will, Mayor David Most said.
The rock replacement was funded by money from FEMA after Hurricane Irene to restore the beach to its original state before the storm, Township Administrator Veronica Laureigh said.
“You’re going to lose it,” said C. John Klein of Coast Watch Engineering and Planning, LLC, formerly of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “The riprap is too small and the beach profile is too low.”
Klein visited the beach Tuesday afternoon along with John McKenna of Beach Prisms and Martha Maxwell-Doyle of Barnegat Bay Partnership.
The rocks and sand could easily be taken out to shore after a simple nor’easter, Klein said.
“It couldn’t be a simple living shoreline,” Maxwell-Doyle said, adding that various applications have to be used.
The township is “doing its homework” and exploring its options, Most said, adding that it’s in the “development stage.”
“We’re all on page to restore the beach,” he said. “A project of this magnitude isn’t going to happen tomorrow.”
The township engineers have been involved to restore the beach to its state before Sandy, which is required by regulations, he said.
Moving forward, requests for proposals with engineers will be issued, he said.
The Committee is writing letters and looking into funding, he said.
Committeeman Sean Sharkey said mitigation money might be made available since this is a continuous problem.
“This isn’t something we took lightly,” Most said. “We need to protect those people.”
Doyle’s presentation included information on vegetation, sand fill, vertical structures, gabion, jetty rock and beach prisms.
Most mentioned the township’s interest in gabion in front with a bulkhead in back.
Beach prisms dissipate wave energy and stop erosion while naturally accreting sand on both the front and back of the prism, McKenna said. For the Forked River Beach, a closed system would be used since the Bayside Beach Club would be responsible for the second half of the beach.
A closed system wouldn’t accelerate erosion on the private beach or increase sediment at the lagoons, he said.
Whichever project the township decides to pursue, the township will be “receptive” of the Bayside Beach Club and the issue would be addressed in the engineering, Most said.
Soad Alim looked out her window concerned and envious as the township dropped rocks on the Forked River Beach. But the private beach remains flat and the shoreline at high tide continues to creep closer to homes.
“It’s a disaster. They have to do something,” Alim said of the township and beach club. “We can’t sell our homes and we can’t keep living in our homes.”
The beach club is also exploring options to fix their portion of the beach but Alim, who is retired, doesn’t have the money to help fund the project.
“We need our money to live,” she said.
She and her husband are living on the second floor of their home as they continue to make repairs after Hurricane Sandy. The storm surge entered their home.
“We lost a lot,” she said.
Alim has lived in her Forked River home for 11 years, she said.
“I’m not enjoying it anymore. Every time I look at the beach, I’m afraid," she said. "I’m jealous every time I look. They keep working on (the Forked River Beach).”
The beach club is evaluating options of erosion mitigation, said member Todd Hayes, past president.
“We’ve become aware of the erosion creeping up on us. We’ve been monitoring and charting the erosion of our beach since 2008,” he said. “Everything is being discussed at this point with no decisions being made...There’s nothing like a major hurricane to accelerate the process.”
But possible funding is currently unknown, he said.
“Everybody’s ability to finance something varies,” he said, adding that there may be state funding.
“We would love to piggy back off of whatever the township is doing,” he said. “The bottom line is this is a very big issue. The beach will eventually erode to our homes. At some point it’s going to hit peoples property.”
Bayside Beach Club President Jim Dubel did not return calls for comment.