The shoreline at the Forked River Beach crept up to the yards of Lacey residents Thursday after a winter storm battered the coast with wind and rain.
“We’ve been going through a lot since Superstorm Sandy. We all got the shock of our life after last night’s storm. The north part of the beach is wiped out up to the fence lines. It’s a very bad situation,” Beach Boulevard resident Pat Doyle said, pleading to the Township Committee to act fast.
Walking along what’s left of the beach, the ground was like a swamp with rip-rap up against fences and yards, red coral sitting along the beach and the bay line not far behind.
“We can’t live like this,” Doyle said as she walked the beach with Committeeman Sean Sharkey. “We’re just targets at this point.”
Doyle gave a presentation to the Committee on the erosion issues at the Forked River Beach just two weeks ago, claiming 58 feet of beach has been lost over 15 years.
“Someday it’ll be in the yards,” she said.
Doyle and Forked River resident Barry Bendar presented the township with long-term solutions moving forward. But now, an emergency fix is necessary, she said.
One of the problems with the beach is that it’s too low in elevation, Doyle said.
The homes on the north end of the Forked River Beach suffered severe damage during Hurricane Sandy. That section already had the least amount of beach remaining, Doyle said. On Thursday, water reached fences.
“And if it doesn’t recede that would be a threat to peoples yards and property,” she said. “It’s not a flooding issue. It’s an erosion issue.”
The issue of erosion is coming to the forefront, Sharkey said.
“This is a much larger issue,” he said. It’s not just a matter of flooding, the township must protect its investment, he said.
Doyle is setting out to contact the state Department of Environmental Protection as well as Sen. Christopher Connors’ office to advocate for assistance and emergency relief. Sharkey and Committeeman David Most also said they’d reach out to Connors.
“I am amazed by the tidal shifts,” said Most, who grew up in the Forked River Beach area. “If you live on the water, you’d be crazy not to elevate…This is going to happen more and more.”
Doyle is just one resident who will be acting on raising her home.
“It really has to be done the right way,” a concerned neighbor, who declined to give his last name, said of the erosion issue. He has lived in his Beach Boulevard home for 10 years. “The future is now. This beach is compromised… Zero has been done except throwing a couple pebbles on the beach.”
The resident has dumped sand at his own cost on the beach to help alleviate the erosion behind his home.
“I have a patio situation back there that I can’t fix until the beach is fixed,” he said, not to mention the first floor of his home took on water during Hurricane Sandy and rip-rap was found in his pool.
Most said that the issue will be a “big mission” in the New Year and that it was a topic of discussion in executive session at Thursday’s Committee meeting. Most has been in contact with engineers.
“We’ll try to address the short term issue too,” he said.
Doyle and her neighbor recommended dropping sand on the beach to create frontage until a long-term solution can begin.
“The storm was scary,” he said of Wednesday night’s storm, adding that waves crashed down on his neighbor’s homes. “It needs to be fixed. I’m paranoid. I can’t tell you how brutal it is to have a family on this water while the waves are breaking.”