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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Nov 14, 2017

Ongoing Sand Shoal Maintenance Dredging

By Lori Draz

On October 23, the New Jersey Department of Transportation began a $1.3 million sand shoal maintenance dredging in three New Jersey state navigation channels in the Shrewsbury River. The three channels that will be dredged are: Monmouth Beach channel (#016) in the boroughs of Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright, to a maximum depth of six feet below the Plane of Mean Low Water Level (MLW); Rumson Country Club Y Channel (#017) in the boroughs of Rumson and Sea Bright, to a maximum depth of five feet MLW; and Oceanport Creek Entry channel (#025) in the borough of Oceanport, to a maximum depth of four feet MLW.  This dredging project is phase one of a two-phase project in the Shrewsbury River under the NJDOT’s State Channel Dredging Program in response to the impacts from Superstorm Sandy. The channel depths will be restored to their authorized levels suitable for navigation when the first phase of recovery is complete.

The DOT states that work will be done on a 12-hour, five-days-a-week schedule, with possible work on some weekends. All dredging activities must be completed by December 31, 2017 as per state and federal regulations. Approximately 17,500 cubic yards is estimated to be removed from the three channels. The dredged materials must be greater than 90% sand to meet the criteria for beach replenishment nourishment along the shoreline of Monmouth Beach. The sand will be placed in front of the existing dune between Central and Park Road according to the permit. Hydraulic dredging will be used, and the dredged material will be transported via pipeline to the beach placement area. The sand will be carefully inspected at all times.

As part of the permit conditions, a pre-dredging biological survey was conducted on September 19 to look for sea beach amaranth, a plant that is on the federal “threatened” plants list. The survey identified two areas of sea beach amaranth, with a total of four plants. These had been documented earlier by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and fenced off. Both are located outside of the proposed beach fill and dredge pipe placement area.

The permit also requires no harvesting of shellfish while the dredging is going on and for 30 days thereafter. Staff will be notified when the project is nearing completion of the beach placement work so it can be inspected for any unexpected changes to the habitat or any other issues. Clean Ocean Action and partners will be monitoring the process carefully.