Monday, September 15, 2014

Story about our beach erosion from Philly.com

Story about our beach erosion from Philly.com - http://articles.philly.com/2014-09-14/news/53908577_1_inlet-state-park-sand-dunes-strathmere


POSTED: September 14, 2014



As his wife, Pat, watched anxiously, Jack Monaghan climbed the slatted dune fence that once separated their Strathmere home from a state park, and pointed down at the crashing sea.
"There used to be a beach out there," he said last week.
Now, exposed black boulders and a slender, 10-foot cliff are about all that remain of Corson's Inlet State Park's southern shoreline.
In just a month, the Monaghans and state officials say, ocean waves have carried away most of the 98 acres of sand dunes where park visitors strolled or fished or beached their boats, and where endangered piping plovers, black skimmers, and least terns scampered and nested.
"There used to be 200 feet of sand and 12-foot dunes at high tide," said Monaghan, 80, a retired business owner. "You could walk all the way to the ocean," he said, gesturing to the inlet's mouth a block to the east.
The state Park Service last week fenced off the path to the beach because it leads now to an abrupt and treacherous drop-off. The 242 acres on the north side of the park have seen little erosion, however, and still attract visitors.
With its 10 decks and balconies, the Monaghans' three-story stucco home might be the envy of many who visit this quiet village in Cape May County's Upper Township.
But the Atlantic Ocean, whose proximity once delighted the Monaghans and their children and grandchildren, is suddenly a source of dread.
"One big storm-" Monaghan said, shaking his head at the memory of the giant waves and 20-knot winds that chewed at his property line for three days early last week.
They and their waterfront neighbors, along with Upper Township's mayor, want the state to build a stone jetty across the south side of the inlet's mouth - and quickly, before the cold-weather nor'easters start to howl.
"We have asked them for a hard structure," Mayor Richard Palombo said. "The situation needs a permanent solution."
But coastal geologist Stewart Farrell, who advises the state on beach erosion, predicts that a stone revetment "ain't gonna happen" for several reasons, including a price tag he estimates at $20 million to $30 million.
What's more, said Farrell, director of the Coastal Research Center at Richard Stockton College, help is already on the way. The Army Corps of Engineers is committed to a 16-mile sand replenishment project that will include Corson's Inlet.
The project has been in planning for several years, is estimated to cost between $50 million and $100 million, and will be paid for mostly by the federal government. The Corps' contractors are to lay 3.56 million cubic feet of sand in late November, starting at Route 623 in Ocean City and ending at Townsend's Inlet, the southern terminus of Sea Isle City.
This fall the Corps expects to launch several other large sand replenishment projects on beaches extending from Manasquan to Cape May.
Bob Considine, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which maintains Corson's Inlet State Park, last week said the department "is fully aware of the situation" in Strathmere.
The elevation of the homeowners' properties appears "stable," Considine said, and in light of the high cost of a jetty and the imminent federal project, "our plan is to let the Army Corps do its job."
The Monaghans dispute the DEP's assertion that the land around them is stable and insist they and their neighbors have done their part to protect their million-dollar homes.
In 2008, after a series of nor'easters scoured the inlet, they collectively paid $1.1 million to install a 1,000-foot-long, 30-foot-deep steel bulkhead that now fronts the inlet side of their properties.
Upper Township also spent $800,000 to secure the bulkhead with boulders, according to Palombo. The recent erosion has not only exposed the boulders but washed away the sand that supported them.
"Our share [of the bulkhead cost] was $115,000," said Monaghan, who, with his late son, Brian, created ITW Holographics, a Chalfont company that prints holograms. Brian Monaghan bought the house as a gift to his parents in 2002, weeks before he died at 34 of a rare cancer.
While the state is sympathetic to property owners anxious for their homes, Farrell said aesthetics was the other reason a jetty is unlikely here.
New Jersey's Park Service wants Corson's Inlet kept in a natural state, he said, free of the bare stone walls and jetties that already stabilize eight of the 11 inlets piercing New Jersey's 127-mile shoreline.
"Brigantine, Corson's, and Little Egg are the only unstructured inlets left," he said. While scenic, their hydraulics make them inherently unstable.
"Have you ever seen a fire hose get loose under pressure?" he asked. "It whips back and forth. If you ever took pictures over an inlet, you'd see it does the same thing over time." Channels and shallows "can migrate a thousand feet in a couple of years."
"You know why Avalon starts at Sixth Street?" Farrell said. "It's because Townsend's Inlet [on Avalon's north side] has eaten away five blocks" since the 19th century, including one whole block in a 1962 storm.
Avalon and the state have since laid down a dense wall of "armored stone" to halt further erosion on Townsend's northern shore, but the result, he said, "is a channel 35 feet deep, with currents that rip by and no beach" along the inlet.
The jetty that the Monaghans and other anxious homeowners are calling for would permanently eliminate the sand beach on Corson's south side, according to Farrell, and require the kind of hardscapes found along Shark River, Townsend's, Cape May, and most other coastal inlets.
While far less stable than a stone revetment, the tons of sand that the Army Corps will lay down this winter should give Strathmere's north-enders the protection they so sorely wish for, and restore the state park's now-vanished bird habitat, officials said.
"The birdies will have a very wide beach in 2015," said Farrell.
In addition to the endangered species that hatch their young there, the south shore of the park is also home to the American oystercatcher and "various species of sandpipers, gulls, herons, sanderlings, and ducks," according to the Park Service's website.
Until then, however, the Monaghans fear their expensive steel bulkhead will provide scant protection if a major storm hits.
"What if the wind forces the water behind it and starts hollowing out the sand?" Monaghan asked. "If more than a third of it is exposed, it could wash away."
Farrell, who knows the property, says such a scenario is unlikely.
"But if there really is a serious nor'easter or a close approach by a hurricane, these folks have a problem," he said. "There really isn't much that can be done about it in the next month and a half.
"That," he said, "is just a fact of life."

856-779-3841

Sunday, September 14, 2014

SIA Newsletter 9/12/14

To All Strathmere and Whale Beach Homeowners and Visitors,

The SFEC Kids’ Surf Fishing Tournament was held on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. 
Many pictures of the event are posted on their website hereThere was also an article here in the Upper Township Gazette.
 
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The Schiavo Library is currently holding their fifth annual end of summer book sale.
More details are available here.
 
 
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On Labor Day, Twisties honored Joan DiFiore by placing a plaque on the building, identifying the place of her birth.  




Family and friends gathered to toast Joan on the occasion
(plaque can be seen under the light fixture).
Joan was born on the other side of that wall, when her aunt and uncle, Gert and Howard Charleston, owned the tavern they built.





On September 8, 9 and 10, the tidal effect of the full moon combined with brisk northeast winds to create flood tides
The highest tides occurred after dark. The ocean came up beyond the pedestrian “carpet” at Williams and upset (and somewhat buried) the lifeguard stands there.



Here is a video showing the effect of the flood tides on the Point.
While there has been considerable “vertical erosion” of the State Park, the steel wall seems to have stopped any further “lateral erosion”, as the video shows.




A contractor for the beach replenishment project (34th Street in OC to Townsend’s Inlet) has not yet been selected.
Bids are due back on October 3, and it will probably take at least a month for the Corps to finalize and announce a winner.
The contractor will then need a month or so to mobilize and bring a dredge or dredges here, so the project will probably start in the first half of December.
The contractor will determine the order of the beaches to be replenished.
Because of both the condition of the State Park and
the environmental
timing restrictions (nesting birds) that are unique to Strathmere, 
we are hoping that our portion will be done prior to (or perhaps in conjunction with, if they use multiple dredges) the south end of Ocean City and Sea Isle City. The Township has had numerous discussions with the Army Corps of Engineers on this, and will discuss it with the contractor once the winner is selected.
 
 
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If you enjoy airplanes, you’ll enjoy the two shows in Ocean City this weekend.

There’s a “ground show” at the airport on Saturday, and an “Aerobatic Air Show” just off the 11th Street Boardwalk beginning at 1:00 pm on Sunday.

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The Citizens for Strathmere and Whale Beach have announced a Town Meeting to be held at the Firehouse at 11:00 am on Saturday, October 11.
Coastal Engineer Doug Gaffney and Mayor Rich Palombo will be speakers.



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On September 5, the Strathmere Community said farewell to Herb Hollinger, Sr. at the Avalon Links Restaurant. Over 200 folks attended. The “Celebration of Life” was both moving and classy.The planners and speakers did themselves (and Herb Sr.) proud!







Upcoming Events - please mark your calendars:
 
SFEC Meeting, Firehouse, Saturday, September 20, 5:00 pm
Last Day of Flounder Season Saturday, September 27
CFSWB Town Meeting, Firehouse, October 11, 11:00 am
SFEC Meeting, Firehouse, Saturday, October 11, 4:00 pm
Strathmere Christmas Party, Saturday, December 13, 6:00 pm
 
Services at the Strathmere United Methodist Church every Sunday until September 28: 9:15 Hymn Sing; 9:30 Service.

Let us know of additions or corrections!

 
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The Strathmere Improvement Association invites all owners, renters and vacationers in Strathmere and Whale Beach to join as dues paying members. The SIA was founded in 1951 as a community organization with the simple objective of making Strathmere a better place. We work to preserve our town’s “hometown feeling” and to keep lines of communication open within town, and with local government.

We are proud of the organization's many accomplishments over the years, including sponsorship of 2012 Centennial activities, taking on a key organizing and leadership role in Strathmere and Whale Beach relief efforts after Sandy, and hosting an annual community beach party and concert. Additionally, the July and August SIA meetings feature programs of interest to vacationers and homeowners.

Your dues allow us to continue to co-sponsor the Christmas Party and the Fourth of July Parade, as well as the above mentioned activities.

Once again, we are keeping annual dues to $10 per adult family member. Please send your dues payments to SIA at PO Box 57, Strathmere, NJ 08248. Remember to tell us your correct e-mail address!
Also, please let us know if you have comments or suggestions for the newsletter or for SIA in general, or if you'd like us to change your e-mail address in our records.
 
You can contact us by responding to this e-mail at sia1912@comcast.net or by mailing SIA at PO Box 57.
 
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Thanks very much for your continuing support of the Strathmere Improvement Association!

Linda Bateman
Elaine Holsomback
Donna Diefenderfer
Rosemarie Whelan
Ken Weaver