Photos by STEVE JASIECKI/During last week’s storm waves came up to the dune at Ventnor’s Wissahickon Avenue beach.


Downbeach towns are awaiting news about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s plans to replenish sand on their beaches later this year.

At this time, only Ventnor has confirmed that its beaches will be replenished this year. According to local public officials in Margate and Longport, replenishments may not happen this year, they said at recent public meetings.

This week, a slow-moving nor’easter saw waves reaching the dune in Ventnor. Sand will replenish areas affected by migrating sand during winter storms according to the engineered dune template, which protects people and property from coastal storm hazards. In most instances, the sand shifts southward during winter storms but much of it returns during spring and summer.

According to Army Corps’ Philadelphia Office Spokesman Stephen Rochette, the federal government will be advertising for a contract in April, with an award likely in June.

“Construction could begin in late summer or fall but we won’t know until after we’ve awarded the contract,” he said in a statement.

Rochette said the government is still finalizing plans on where the sand will be placed. Much of the decision depends on cost and bids received, he said.

Rochette said final costs may be in the $30 million range.

Ventnor Mayor Lance Landgraf said in February that the city has significant beach erosion in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Avenue areas.

“The Army Corps has done survey work and will likely come back to us in the spring with plans,” he said.

Landgraf said the area that regularly loses sand is between the Ventnor Fishing Pier and Margate’s fishing pier.

Margate Mayor Michael Collins said the DEP initially recommended only planting dune grass in Margate this year.

“We have a meeting with them next week,” Collins said Thursday afternoon.

Margate has been fortunate that there has been no major erosion, but there is erosion around an outfall pipe the city would like addressed, he said.

Longport’s last nourishment was three years ago, and the borough was awaiting a bill for the work.

According to a cost-sharing formula, the federal government covers 65% of the cost, with the state and municipalities sharing the remaining 35%.

According to Longport Administrator A. Scott Porter, the borough recently received an invoice of zero dollars due for the replenishment completed three years ago.

“We got the bill last week and it was zero. It’s not costing us a cent,” Porter said.

CFO Jenna Kelly said the bill included credits to the municipality for money it spent obtaining easements from private property owners before the border-to-border sand dune was built, which was credited to the borough’s billing statement.

“We were supposed to get reimbursed for that work, but they never reimbursed us that money,” she said.


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Categories: Downbeach

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.