Ebbs and flows: New Jersey beach replenishment
Over the past several decades, the federal and state government have spent an estimated $1.5 billion to pump more sand on New Jersey beaches to widen them.
In at least one spot along the Jersey Shore, they are spending millions of dollars now to take that sand off the beach.
News 12 was in Monmouth Beach recently, where U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of contractors were pumping massive piles of sand on shore from a spot off Sea Bright, as part of the latest $52 million round of beach replenishment in northern Monmouth County.
On Sunday, News 12 was at the tip of the Sandy Hook Peninsula where the same contractors were removing sand that has drifted north, threatening to clog the channel used for shipping.
Scientists say much of it is probably the same sand that has been pumped onto the beach a few miles south over the past few years. It will be taken to that same so-called borrow area offshore spot from where they are pumping sand back on to the beach father south.
Over the past two decades, the state and federal government have done round after round of beach replenishment in towns like Long Branch, Deal and Sea Bright, even more frequently in the wake of Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Wider beaches have provided security for developers engaged in a development boom.
But the more sand they pump to the south, the more it flows along natural currents to the north, where the beaches of Sandy Hook get bigger and bigger. These beaches now rival Wildwood as the widest in New Jersey. In places like this, they're getting too big.
Once a project that was undertaken every few years, the Army Corps of Engineers has to dredge the Sandy Hook Channel every year because it keeps filling up with sand - partly, scientists believe, because of all the replenishment being done to the south.
This year's dredging will cost $6.7 million and take about three months.