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Township Restores Forked River Beach to Pre-Sandy State

Additional rocks were added to the beach until the township decides on a more effective solution

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.

proud January 10, 2013 at 08:07 PM
It's too bad the Sunrise Beach Club property isn't being restored to pre -Sandy conditions. The committee that collects dues from almost one thousand homes certainly haven't done anything to restore their beach area. For that matter, they haven't gotten around to restoring the beach to pre- Irene conditions.
lacey voter January 10, 2013 at 10:27 PM
If the Sunrise "club" wants to be special, let them fix their own problem
Lisa January 11, 2013 at 12:56 AM
So more rocks that do absolutely nothing!! What a waste of money! Spend that money getting rid of the rocks. They are unsafe and useless!!
proud January 11, 2013 at 01:19 AM
That would be nice. Unlikely, but nice.
Elaine Piniat (Editor) January 11, 2013 at 01:39 AM
Proud, the Forked River Beach is a public beach owned by the township. The Committee mentioned in this story is the township Committee who would be responsible for restoring the beach and coming up with an erosion mitigation solution. The portion of the beach owned by the Bayside Beach Club would be the responsibility of the beach club, which would be the same situation with the Sunrise Beach Club.
proud January 11, 2013 at 03:08 AM
I'm sorry if I minced terms Elaine . The point I was trying to make is that it would be wonderful if all the respective bay front communities were restored to pre- Samdy condition and then some. At many levels that would benefit township as a whole. That the executive committee of the Sunrise Beach Club is woefully remiss in it's duty to their membership to provide a clean and safe recreation area negates that benefit.
Camillo Papa January 11, 2013 at 10:46 AM
We the committee of Sunrise Beach have had discussions to fix the beach area.There are decisions to be made about money being spent. The area itself is not a danger to anyone at this time .The ramp is open which has helped many that had to get there boats out and still removing them.The area is not in danger of washing away or flooding like Forked River beach was needing immediate attention. As you see sand has been dumped back inside. The area will be repaired before this years season, better than before.
proud January 12, 2013 at 11:24 AM
@Camilo Papa I am a frequent visitor to Sunrise Beach., it is encouraging to know that there have been discussions to restore the Sunrise Beach area. I hope they are more fruitful than previous discussions where the committe of Sunrise Beach planned but did not deliver. As to your suggestion that the " area is not a danger to anyone at this time", that is laughable. It is dream come true to a personal injury attorney. Are you familiar with therm "attractive nuisance"? Lastly, I don't know what "season" you are talking about. Sunrise Beach is a public access area. There is no "season".
proud January 12, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Hopefully, Ms. Doyle will be successful.

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