The Lacey Township Committee called on the state and Army Corps of Engineers to include Island Beach State Park in its dune restoration project in an effort to help protect Forked River from future storms.
Various dune restoration projects are being pursued on the barrier island, including Island Beach State Park, which is adjoined between Forked River and Berkeley Township, Township Administrator and Municipal Clerk Veronica Laureigh said as the Committee approved a resolution Thursday.
“It acts as a barrier to us, and if they put additional dunes at Island Beach State Park, it may help protect us from future storms,” she said.
Lacey and Berkeley Townships are soliciting support to have the dunes restored at the state park. The Berkeley Township Council passed a resolution earlier in April.
"This is big," Berkeley Township Council President James J. Byrnes said. "There are sections that are missing dunes that would impact the Bayville section."
Portions of South Seaside Park, Glen Cove, Good Luck Point, Toms River Shores and the Forked River Beach were swamped by Sandy's storm surge on Oct. 29.
Homes along the Forked River Beach area of Lacey are still uninhabitable and the beach has been compromised.
Some of the damage could have been avoided if dunes had been in place in certain areas of Island Beach, especially along Two-Bit Road in the northern section of the park, officials have said.
"...various Township officials and residents have witnessed the destruction caused to the Township due to the lack of dunes at Island Beach State Park," Lacey and Berkeley’s resolutions state.
The state has partnered with the Army Corps of Engineers in a storm damage reduction project from the Manasquan Inlet to the Barnegat Inlet. But Island Beach has been excluded from the plan, Berkeley Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. said.
Berkeley Council members also unanimously approved the introduction of an ordinance that grants easements to the state for all township-owned beaches in South Seaside Park for the dune project.
"The state is really pushing to get these easements approved and that's why we are pushing this tonight," Amato said.
Berkeley Township has been advised that the project will be 100 percent funded by state and federal resources.
Berkeley residents who own oceanfront property will be asked to sign dedication deeds and "perpetual storm damage reduction easements," so the dune project can begin without delay, Amato has said.
"The USACE project, once completed, will provide long-term stability and peace of mind to all of the residents on the barrier island," he said on the township website. "The time has long since past when property owners can ignore the ongoing threat from storms. The entire barrier island and bay front properties are at risk until this work is completed."