Nor’easter 2021: Stunning images show damage left behind at Bay Head beach
Stunning images show the power of the nor’easter after it severely damaged the dunes protecting homes in Ocean County.
Multiple high tide cycles carved out the 2-year-old dunes at the beach in Bay Head and left behind sand cliffs.
Crews blocked every entrance to the beach, except one on the far southern end of Bay Head, because the walkways are gone. The dunes are also half gone, and there is a 25-foot drop to the sand below.
“This is no lie, this is 25 feet, it's a huge drop and I'm worried about old people, children, a lot of people walk their dogs on the beach in the morning,” says Mayor Bill Curtis. “It's not a good situation.”
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Cliffs ranging from five to 25 feet high now stand where the dunes once filled the area. The width of the beach has also shrunk.
“What goes through my mind is what's going to happen in the summer?” says Mayor Curtis. “We are going to lose rentals. This is big money right here, big money for Bay Head homeowners. They can't sell their homes with no beach.”
The nor'easter carved out half of the dunes in some spots, dunes which were only placed by the Army Corps of Engineers in June of 2019. It was a controversial project. Beachfront homeowners such as Robert Hein fought the dunes in court.
“There was an unintended consequence that quite frankly even I had not thought of,” says Hein. “The dune they placed is actually on the beach that we used to use. I believe the water will come back to where it originally was, nature comes back where it wants to.”
Homeowners argued their privately-funded wall made of boulders would supply enough storm protection without the expensive $24 million federal project for a mile and a quarter of dune system and expanded beach now sitting somewhere offshore under the waves.
“We need help again,” says Mayor Curtis. “They created this, now we have absolutely no beach, which is Bay Head’s biggest asset.”
The storm also exposed pilings, which haven't been seen in years.