North Wildwood looks to the bay for beach replenishment

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NORTH WILDWOOD – North Wildwood’s beaches between Second and Fifth avenues lost much of their bathing space again this past winter, and city officials are looking to the back bay to refill it.

Mayor Patrick Rosenello said that the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) will be dredging out the Beach Creek area of Five Mile Island’s back bays at some point soon. While the timing of the project is not yet set, Rosenello said that the sand from the back bay is beach quality, and can be used to fill in the beaches at the town’s north end.

The dredging project would not be as involved as ones in the past at those beaches, Rosenello said. Last year, the city completed a $3.2 million dredging project to replenish 150,000 cubic yards of sand at those beaches after Hurricane Sandy. FEMA reimbursed the city for 75 percent of that project.

“It’s a much smaller scale project, but it would make a much noticeable difference,” Rosenello told City Council Tuesday. About 38,000 cubic yards of sand could be pumped onto North Wildwood’s beaches under the current project, he said.

No one from the NJDOT immediately responded for requests for comment on Tuesday. But the department announced the start of a multi-year state dredging program of New Jersey’s waterways in March.

The first project, to dredge 36,000 cubic yards of sediment from creeks in Keansburg, went out for bid March 13. In a release, the department stated that bids would also be advertised for the St. George’s Thorofare in Atlantic County, Cape May Harbor and Middle Thorofare in Cape May County, and areas of the Barnegat Bay. 

“In Cape May, the Middle Thorofare project will ensure New Jersey's commercial fishing industry is able to safely access berths that support the New Jersey seafood industry,” the release states.

The department stated that all the projects will most likely receive some FEMA reimbursement and additional funding will come from the State Transportation Trust Fund. It also stated that in some instances, there could be opportunities for counties and municipalities to partner with the NJDOT and dredge locally maintained waterways.

North Wildwood City Council also approved the designated areas to be protected by the beach patrol at their meeting, and Rosenello said there was a change to add a third lifeguard stand at the city’s inlet beaches in hopes to enlarge the bathing area. He said there are normally two lifeguards on duty between Second and Fifth avenues, and now a third one will placed at the beaches north of those streets.

“At high tide, there is very little bathing area,” he said about the Second through Fifth beaches.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 4 at City Hall, 901 Atlantic Avenue.

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