Today the NJ DEP today announced the schedule for the US ACE Army Corps of Engineers dune and beach replenishment project. Thanks to heroic work by NJ DEP Commissioner Bob Martin and Toms River Mayor Kelaher, the dunes in Ortley Beach will be built first. The dune replenishment work will commence in mid April and be completed within a month. All other communities will follow – and the final work to widen the beaches in Ortley Beach will be completed in the fall of this year. Because Weeks Marine won the bids for both the Northern Ocean and the Absecon project, there was a conflict in the scheduling. The conflict was resolved by building the dunes in Ortley Beach first, then doing Absecon and other communities in Northern Ocean County, then coming back to complete Ortley Beach in the fall. By doing this, Ortley Beach gets the dunes built in time to protect us from storms in the next hurricane season.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the Board and ALL the members of OBVTA for making your voice heard. The trips to Trenton, the march from the Bay to Ocean and your continued support of our organization made certain that the voice of Ortley Beach was heard.
The full press release from the NJ DEP can be found: HERE
Links to the Asbury Park Press and Patch Stories on Dune Replenishment can be found below:
Some recent news stories about our beaches, storm sewer replacement in Ortley Beach and some articles about the efforts of Senator Menendez to reform the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) that is up for renewal later this year can be found at the links below.
PHILADELPHIA (January 11, 2017) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District awarded a contract late yesterday (Jan. 10) to Weeks Marine Inc. for $92 million to construct a dune and berm project between the Manasquan Inlet and Barnegat Inlet in Ocean County, New Jersey. The total cost of the contract could be $128 million if options are awarded. The project is a joint effort of the Army Corps’ Philadelphia District and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and is designed to reduce coastal storm damages.
The project, once fully completed, will cover approximately 14 miles of coastline along the Barnegat Peninsula and will reduce the risk of storm damages for the communities of Point Pleasant Beach, Bay Head, Mantoloking, Brick Township, Toms River Township, Lavallette, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, and Berkeley Township. More than 11 million cubic yards of sand will be dredged from approved borrow areas and pumped through a series of pipes onto the beaches of the municipalities.
The sand is then built into a dune and berm system designed to reduce potential damages to infrastructure, businesses, and homes that can occur from coastal storm events. For most of the project area, dunes will be built to an elevation of 22 feet. Beaches will be constructed from 100 feet to 300 feet wide and to an elevation of 8.5 feet. The project area will be eligible to receive periodic nourishment over the course of 50 years to replace sand lost through erosion. In addition, the contract includes the construction of dune crossovers, placement of sand fencing, and dune grass plantings.
“This represents one of the largest beachfill contracts in the history of the United States Army Corps of Engineers,” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District
Despite the best efforts of OBVTA and many of its members, the Ocean County Utility Authority voted “No” on converting any portion of their property in Ortley Beach to a park for passive recreation.
About 40 members of OBVTA attended their public meeting on Thursday, August 25th.
Chairman Parker allowed each commissioner to make a statement about whether they supported , or opposed the use of their property for passive recreation. A few were neutral, but most had one excuse or another to not allow such use. Many of their excuses were based on incorrect information, despite our best efforts to educate them. Following their statements, Chairman Parker stated his own objections, which again seemed to assume that OCUA would “lose” their property. He was closed minded about the entire idea from the beginning, stays that way, and has strong influence over all of the commissioners.
Paul Jeffrey, President, clarified many of the facts and made yet another plea to allow the conversion to passive recreation use. Several OBVTA members then very well articulated their views. Unfortunately Toms River did not send a representative to the meeting despite our requests to do so, and this weakened our position. The commissioners listened, but clearly had their minds made up before coming to the meeting.
Following a short closed session, the OCUA board returned to the meeting room, a motion was made to keep use of the OCUA land as it is now and took a vote. The commissioner votes were unanimous to support no change.
The OBVTA Board has not decided on next steps, if any, but will discuss at our next Board meeting.
The event and the contests were only possible because of over 40 people who donated ther time to plan, set up, conduct and take down all the events. Please note our wonderful business sponsors in Ortley Beach and frequent their businesses:
On Wednesday, August 17th the Toms River Planning Board heard comments from residents of Toms River, including Ortley Beach, about public comments collected as input to revision of the Master Plan.
Comments and recommendations collected at our OBVTA meetings and at other venues received from Ortley Beach residents and OBVTA members are shown at the link below.
Please note that the Township and Planning Board have not yet taken a position on these recommendations and comments provided by Ortley Beach residents. During the Wednesday evening meeting The Planning Board was presented with all the comments regarding rezoning and redevelopment area requests. The purpose of the meeting was to get policy direction from the public and the Planning Board regarding these matters only.
The next step will be public hearings on the proposals put forth by the Toms River Planning Dept. to the Planning Board. Those hearings will probably occur in October and we will keep you informed of the dates.
A complete list of public input for all of Toms River for the revised master plan can be found here
See recent communication below from the NJ DEP on dune and beach replenishment:
As of July 29, the State of NJ conveyed all the necessary properties (including associated paperwork) to the US Army Corps. NJ DEP discussed timing with US Army Corps at an event with Senator Booker. They are finalizing their plans and are striving to conclude that by end of August. In all likelihood, the actual bid will start beginning of September. Between the DEP and Senator Booker, NJ DEP is applying as much pressure to have this huge project out to bid as soon as possible. There should be a firm bid date in the next couple weeks.
In the interim, NJ DEP has focused their workforce to tackle the outstanding properties in Pt. Pleasant, Bay Head, and Berkeley (the “option” areas for the contract). They hope to have those properties completed by end-of-year.
Also see the article HERE on Toms River’s plans for temporary dune work that will likely be needed prior to the project completion.
And an article HERE about the ongoing issues with property owners in Bayhead.
OBVTA had a successful meeting with the Ocean County Utility Authority and again pleaded that a portion of their property be converted to a public park. While the Authority Chairman, John Parker, raised several objections, OBVTA had a counter argument for each objection. Several OBVTA members spoke including Paul Jeffrey, President, Mike Wymbs, Director, and OBVTA members Paul Lagana, Sherman Barton, Bill Kastow and Robert Steigelman. Together we made strong arguments for OCUA to consider our proposal. Press coverage included Asbury Park Press, WOBM 92.7 FM Radio, News Channel 12 and ShoreBeat. Links to the articles are below
At the end of the meeting OCUA Chairman John Parker agreed to speak with the other OCUA commissioners and discuss our proposal. He, himself, remains strongly against any change.
The Ocean Beach Volunteer Fire Company is actively and aggressively seeking new applicants for their organization. Full-time members do not need any training just full-time residency on the barrier island, free training will be provided. Seasonal/Part-Time members just need to have firefighting training already and spend a good amount of time on the island. Members should be 18 years of age or older and should be willing and able to get involved with the community. Members are eligible for several benefits such as a pension plan, clothing allowance, gym membership and more. Please consider getting involved and supporting the community, we would love to meet you!! For more information stop by the Fire House, 40 Kittiwake Ave. Ocean Beach on a Tuesday night after 7pm, check us out on Facebook (Ocean Beach Fire), our wesbite www.oceanbeachfire.com or email Drew Calvo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dover Brick First Aid Squad is also looking for new members to assist in providing EMS service to the Barrier Island. Free training is available and current EMTs are also very welcome! Please contact the squad at (732) 793-1334.
Thank you very much,
Judge Ford has issued a ruling in favor of the State of New Jersey that will allow the condemnation of oceanfront property to continue. This is great news as it means the slow and ardous process to replenish our beaches and dunes can continue. While the oceanfront property owners are likely to appeal, we are still optimistic that the project can begin sometime in 2016.
OBVTA members of the Board recently had another update teleconference with NJ DEP. This was a follow-up call to our previous discussions. We are pleased to report that significant progress has been made by the NJ DEP in obtainig the remaining easements required for the dune and beach replenishment program to begin. Also, nearly all of the beach associations in Brick and Toms River have now signed the revised easement or resolved any side agreement issues.
However, there is a pending decision by NJ Judge Ford that is expected soon with regard to the lawsuits filed by a group of property owners in Pt Pleasant, Bayhead and nearby towns. If that decision upholds the NJ DEP authority to proceed, then there is a high liklihood that the project will begin sometime this year, although not as soon as hoped. We will keep you posted as we hear more and can provide additional details.
While Ortley Beach escaped the serious flooding experienced by Cape May County, the temporary dune system is essentially completely destroyed. Toms River added a secondary line of dunes near the ocean prior to the storm, but that dune line, a second dune line and the primry dunes were all substantially washed away by three consecutive high tides. Pictures are below.
The highest tide on the bayside occurred Sunday about noon, but flooding was limited to the usual low lying streets.
We will be in contact with Toms River officials this week who will surely promptly restore the temporary dunes – until the next storm.
In the meantime, OBVTA continues to receive updates from NJ DEP and the NJ Attorney General’s office who are attempting to obtain the necessary easements for the permanent dune system. As well as a quite a few holdouts which are advancing in the eminent domain process, there is incresing concern about the beach associations in Toms River and Brick who have not signed the new easement that is required to replace the prior easement plus side agreement. More about that soon.
An official report on the NJ storm damage is here:
OBVTA Members, Residents and Friends of Ortley Beach,
Thank you all for a hugely successful July 18th march and rally for the dunes. Over 500 people participated!
We got great news coverage in the papers, online and on TV.
This kind of effort by all of you is making a difference.
Now that we have the letter (in writing!) from Commissioner Martin of NJ DEP agreeing that the dune and beach replenishment project can be completed in sections, the OBVTA Board will continue to work with Toms River, our State legislators and surrounding communities to obtain more easements and push for action on the eminent domain process. We will have future communications with NJ DEP and keep you informed.
Attached are a few pictures and links to articles and news stories that covered the event on Saturday.
Enjoy, you made it happen.
Also is a link to a great documentary from our Trenton rally which is airing on Asbury Park TV. Thank you to Kelly McKenna for this!
Paul Jeffrey, President, OBVTA
Please click on the link below to view Video and Pics of the Rally on Saturday 7/18. (Compliments of Stop FEMA Now)
Rally to raise the Dunes in Ortley, NJ
CHECK OUT THIS LINK to the 30 minute interview Paul Jeffery conducted with Maggie of WMGQ, 98.3 FM It aired live last weekend and her producer put together this package with the video. The link includes the written story, the 30 minute radio show, and an Ortley Beach video.