Strong support for dune project

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To the editor:

I strongly support the construction of the 16-foot sand dune project for the Wildwoods. Hurricane Sandy resulted in a 14-foot storm surge in Sea Bright. Although the proposed sand dune project would have minimal protection from a storm like the March Storm of 1962, which brought persistent flooding over a period of three days, it would have protected us from a direct hit of a storm like Sandy, the category 4 Hurricane of 1821 or the Category 3/4 Hurricane of 1804. During those storms, there was a strong but apparently brief storm surge. The communities to the north of us exposed to the storm surge from Sandy with sand dune barriers did much better than those lacking this protection.

To understand this issue we need to look at the causes of shifting sand on the Jersey Coast. The New Jersey coast is basically a river delta of the Delaware and Hudson Rivers. Outgoing tides are much stronger than incoming tides. Sand is pushed by the stronger outgoing tide. When rock piles are constructed sand accumulates downstream from the rock piles and it is eroded in eddy currents upstream from the rock piles. This is why the Wildwood side of the Cape May Inlet has 3,000 more feet than the Cape May side. This fact is very obvious from looking at a satellite map of New Jersey, such as Google Maps. The influence of the Delaware and Hudson rivers is most extreme closer to the mouth of the two rivers and equalized at the middle of Long Beach Island where sand is equal on the north and south side of rock piles.

Based upon this view, the major force influencing the growth of the Wildwood beach is the presence of the Cape May Inlet jetties. Sand will continue to be deposited at the rate of about 20 feet/year on the Wildwood beaches until it progresses another 1500 feet and reaches the end of the Cape May Inlet on the Wildwood side (in approximately 75 years). There are other forces causing a shifting of sand at Hereford Inlet. Wildwood is acquiring sand from the Delaware Bay and from Cape May while North Wildwood is mostly losing sand to Stone Harbor, not to Wildwood or Wildwood Crest. Removing sand to build the sand dune will have no long term impact upon the continuing 20 foot/year growth of Wildwood beaches and it may be our only protection from a hurricane storm surge. We can’t always be protected by the timing of the tide or the path of the storm.

Bob Bransfield
Wildwood Crest

Dr. Robert C Bransfield
Red Bank

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